Ed (Too Tall) Jones
Jones retired from the NFL in 1979 to pursue a professional boxing career.
Boxing had always held a fascination for Jones. "It wasn't that I had boxing idols like Liston and Louis and Patterson," he said, "but that every boxer was my idol." He decided in 1977 that he couldn't stand being out of the ring any longer and that he would box, but he stayed with the Cowboys because he had two years left on his contract and he felt he should honor it.
In his pro debut, Jones was floored and received a majority decision win that was resoundingly booed by the crowd. Red Smith of the New York Times wrote: "He cannot box, he cannot punch and his chin gives off a musical tinkle when tapped."
After compiling a record of 6-0 against mediocre opposition, Jones returned to the NFL to play for the Cowboys from 1980 to 1989.
Throughout his unbeaten six-fight career, Dave Wolf, Jones' manager, said Jones was "embarrassed by his performance but not to the extent that he gave up out of embarrassment. What we were all amazed at was the animosity he seemed to create. Suddenly, he was the villain, as though he had broken a sacred law by giving up football." Murphy Griffith, Jones' trainer, said, "I think the big problem was everyone thought he was too good a football player to be a novice in a foreign activity—and to look like a novice."
"I have never been around so many crummy people in all my days," Jones said of his time in boxing. But he also said, "Boxing was the best thing that ever happened to Ed Jones."
According to Sports Illustrated, Jones refused to discuss his reasons for returning to football, but he told intimates that his mother hated boxing. When she had a slight heart attack after his third fight, Jones told friends, "I can't torment her like this."
Kermit Kane, a friend of Jones from Dallas, said, "Deep in his heart, he thought boxing would be a lot easier than it was."