Spartan Football ICON Clinton Jones Reflects on his NFL Career

Spencer Turkin

Clint Jones believes tradition is the key to the Spartans future success. He and his teammates embraced what it meant to be a student-athlete at Michigan State and it led to
an undefeated senior season. Following his career in Green and White, Jones had the incredible opportunity to be drafted 2nd overall in the NFL Draft by the Minnesota Vikings. To make things even more special, his roommate in college Gene Washington, was drafted 8th overall to the same team.

“There are no words to express the feeling to be with Gene [Washington],” said Jones. “Gene was my alter ego. I mean we have done everything together since we got to Michigan
State. How weird is it for a college athlete to be able to be roommates with your best friend for 10 years? Four years at Michigan State, six year at Minnesota, it was like taking what we had
in college into the professional league.”

Part of what the duo brought with them to Minnesota was a refuse to lose attitude that was developed at Michigan State. Head Coach Duffy Daugherty bred it into them
and the approach carried the Vikings over the next six seasons.

“We made a difference, we brought this spirit that Joe Capp came to coin as “40 for 60”,” said Jones. “We brought in a new paradigm that wasn’t there in Minnesota before we came.
Gene and I we were used to winning. I didn’t have a Hall of Fame professional career, but we won and winning isn’t the most important thing, it’s the only thing.”

Jones exuded that winning spirit on Saturdays while wearing the Green and White uniform. It helped him garner his MSU Hall of Fame selection. But more importantly to him, his teammates from Michigan State were pushing for his enshrinement.

“I had tears of joy because I was speechless,” said Jones. “Gene Washington and Pat Galinagh really went on a campaign to make sure this would happen. Until a year ago, I never even
thought about it. When my teammates respect my contribution, there is no higher reward than that.”

With this honor, Jones now rests assure that he will be a part of Spartans history forever.

Even though his playing days are behind him, Jones tries to watch MSU as much as he can. It also helps that he now has a relative joining the football program.

“I try to see as many games as I possibly can,” said Jones. “Since Mark Dantonio has taken over, I’ve gotten more interested, I mean meticulously interested with the players and now that I have my cousin there in Andre Sims, I feel like I’m 30 years younger.”