Chandler Jones has almost everything a football player could ever want.
He’s been to three Pro Bowls. He was named a first team All-Pro twice. He’s earned over $40 million in salary. He has a Super Bowl ring.
There was one thing the Rochester native was missing… at least until last weekend.
Jones was part of a virtual graduation ceremony at Syracuse University. He earned a degree in Human Development & Family Sciences after being away from school for eight years playing in the NFL.
“Even though I haven’t used my degree as of yet, I’m pretty sure it will definitely come in handy when I’m done playing football,” Jones said. “That’s the reason I went back. I think that’s very important. My kids can look back at that and say, ‘My dad graduated’.”
He was only three credit hours short and had to complete just one class.
“My biggest advice to anyone that didn’t finish school is to finish,” Jones said. “Why not finish what you started.”
Jones was born in Rochester, but moved to Endicott, New York, near Binghamton when he was eight years old. He is the younger brother of UFC star Jon “Bones” Jones and former NFL defensive lineman Arthur Jones.
He played three years of football with the Orange and finished with ten sacks and an interception in 30 games.
Last month, he was named to the NFL’s All-Decade team for the 2010s after leading the league in sacks (96) and forced fumbles (27) since being drafted in 2012. He had 19 sacks last season.
He also donated 150,000 meals to food banks in Arizona and Endicott earlier this offseason.
Getting his diploma may have topped all of that.
“I’m happy,” Jones said. “It’s a huge accomplishment for our family and it hangs right up there with that Super Bowl ring.”