NFL players: Three out of four own guns

by David Leon Moore, USA TODAY Sports  |  published on December 7, 2012

Former NFL running back Thomas Jones was always around guns, long before he became a football-carrying member of that unofficial gun club within the National Football League.

As a kid, he and his buddies fired guns in the woods in Big Stone Gap, Va. They’d shoot bottles and go hunting.

His dad had guns.

Jones bought his first gun his senior year at the University of Virginia, and, as a rookie with the Arizona Cardinals a dozen years ago, he learned quickly that guns were an ingrained part of the NFL culture.

“Most guys when they first come into the league is when they first start to realize they need protection,” Jones says. “Because money brings a lot of positive things. But most of the time, it brings more negative things. People don’t like you for what you have, for who you are. They don’t like you for what you represent. And people will go to any length to take what you have or harm you in some way just because they don’t have what you have. If you don’t have a firearm to protect you from situations and God forbid something happens to you, you wish you would have a firearm.”

Jones, who retired last season with the Kansas City Chiefs after 12 years in the league, was a big brother to young linebacker Jovan Belcher, who killed his girlfriend, and then himself, last Saturday.

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