Vermeil will help honor ex-Ram Jones
By Bernie Miklasz
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
Dick Vermeil, who coached the 1999 Rams to a Super Bowl championship, will be back in town Friday to honor his former Rams linebacker, Mike Jones.
Jones, of course, saved the Rams' 23-16 victory over Tennessee with a fundamentally perfect tackle of Titans receiver Kevin Dyson at the 1-yard line on the final play of the Super Bowl.
In an event that's being billed as a tribute to "The Tackle," Vermeil will be on hand at noon Friday to attend a luncheon at the St. Charles Convention Center. Vermeil will reflect on that special season and the best defensive play ever made in a Super Bowl.
Rams defensive coordinator Jim Haslett, who taught Jones how to play linebacker in the NFL in Oakland, has been invited to discuss the team's prospects for 2006.
For the last 13 seasons, Jones has used his success on the field to provide more than 10,000 children with the opportunity to attend his Life Skills Football Camps, free of charge, as part of the Michael Jones Foundation. Jones has increased those efforts since retiring from the NFL.
Jones has rebounded from some bad and largely unfair publicity. In 2002, Jones' foundation received a portion of funds that were seized when federal agents broke up a prostitution ring in the Metro East area. The understanding was that Jones would help improve the low-income community of Brooklyn by constructing a grocery store and a clothing store. But after Brooklyn officials discouraged Jones from building the businesses, he switched and tried to construct a home for a poor family instead.
In a hearing last month in federal court in East St. Louis, District Judge Michael J. Reagan praised Jones' good-hearted intentions but said the money had to be used for its original purpose - for projects to benefit the entire community rather than one family.
"I think you were doing the right thing, it was just the wrong thing for this money," Reagan told Jones in court. Reagan added that Jones did nothing illegal, but still had to follow the guidelines. Jones agreed to repay the $30,000.
"I didn't do anything wrong with the money," Jones said. "It was just a mixup in understanding what I could or could not do. I screwed up by not clearing my plan with the judge ahead of time. We could have avoided all of this. I was just trying to help a poor family, but it was the wrong way to do it."
Anyone who knows Jones realizes he's a man of character. And he's still trying to enrich lives. The Michael Jones Foundation is busy building nine homes in the 22nd ward of St. Louis.
Before the luncheon, Vermeil will be a featured speaker at a "Commit to Growth" Conference. Jones and career planning expert Ed Watkins created "Growth Playbook" for people who lack planning skills for their lives. Tickets and information about the Super Bowl Celebration Luncheon are available by calling 636-244-1230.
Re: Vermeil will help honor ex-Ram Jones
That would be a cool event to attend. I made a custom figure of Mike Jones and sold it on eBay last week. I made a two-player custom set of Jones tackling Dyson. The pictures are in the Member's Art section of the Gallery.