Wide receiver Onrea Jones, 29, a graduate of Bruton High and Hampton University, began his second Canadian Football League regular season Saturday night with one 31-yard reception for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats in their 39-34 loss to the host Toronto Argonauts before 29.852 at Rogers Centre (once known as SkyDome).
As a CFL rookie last season, the 6-foot, 202-pounder caught 32 passes for 464 yards and four touchdowns. He averaged 14.5 yards per reception, including a 41-yarder.
Jones starred at Bruton as a receiver and hurdler, earning Daily Press All-Stars honors and blazing his path to HU. With the Pirates, he caught 96 passes for 1,359 yards and seven touchdowns.
Then came his NFL odyssey, which began when he signed as an undrafted free agent with the Houston Texans in 2007. Though he never caught a pass in an NFL regular-season game, he has spent time in training camp and with practice squads for San Diego, Green Bay, Indianapolis, Washington, Arizona and Chicago. He caught a touchdown pass for the Colts against the Redskins in the NFL's traditional preseason opener, the Hall of Fame Game in Canton, Ohio.
Among the receivers with whom Jones has practiced: Donald Driver and Greg Jennings with the Packers, Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne with the Colts, and Anquan Boldin and Larry Fitzgerald with the Cardinals.
Jones has learned the nuances of the CFL game, which favors the offense in some respects — they include a wider field than in the United States and the ability to run forward before the snap. Those are balanced by the lack of fourth down; the offense only has three plays to pick up 10 yards, so fans often hear the term "two-and-out" during the frequent CFL broadcasts shown in the U.S. on NBC Sports Network and ESPN2.
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