Art Jones is living up to the pretty lofty standards set by his family.
His two younger brothers have accomplished quite a lot over the last couple of years. Jon “Bones” Jones won the UFC light heavyweight championship in 2011 while Chandler Jones was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots last year.
Art added to the set of accomplishments by winning a Super Bowl with the Ravens in 2012. Jon, who was a special guest at Ravens practice Wednesday, expressed pride in all three brothers’ success.
“I think it’s awesome. I’m always throwing little jabs at both guys to try to keep firing them up, to keep trying to have them strive to be better, because I think the whole competition is valuable for our family,” Jon said. “That’s the way it’s always been. Chandler always comes back, though. Chandler is the first-round draft pick. He always has that, but Arthur is the champ. So, it’s cool.”
Art has made a significant personal leap this season, rounding into one of the Ravens’ top defensive players.
The 27-year-old defensive end is third on the team with four sacks through eight games (seven starts), just a half-sack off the career high he set in 16 games last season. He is also ninth on the team with 28 tackles after missing the season opener with an unexplained elevated heart rate.
“Art has done a great job. He’s turned into a very solid and even excellent defensive lineman in this league, and I think it is because of his work ethic,” coach John Harbaugh said. “He’s talented, he’s quick, he’s explosive. He’s worked really hard in the weight room with (strength and conditioning coach) Bob Rogucki and those guys, and he’s really maximized his physical potential, and he’s one of the best defensive lineman now going. So we’re real proud of what he has done.”
Art is pretty happy with his season as well and pointed to his brother Jon for helping to make it happen.
“Oh man, I feel like it’s going well, but I want to give it up for my team to get wins,” Art said. “That’s what it’s all about. Any means necessary now - every single game, every single play, I’m just trying to be an impact player and give it up for my team. ...
“I give a lot of credit to (Jon). In the offseason, I work out with him faithfully on hand fighting, wrestling, leverage. Just having good pad level is a game changer in this league, so if you can learn how to use your hands and have good leverage, you can do some good things.”
When thinking of famous athletic families, the Joneses don’t immediately come to mind, but maybe they should. Jon said he dreamed of fame and fortune when he was a kid while Art said he entertained the idea, but didn’t expect it.
Art said their parents get plenty of attention in Rochester, N.Y., and are heroes in their hometown.
“Our parents get a lot of respect, but on a bigger scale, I don’t think we’re really as known as the Mannings or the Williams sisters or the Gronkowskis or anything,” Jon said. “If Chandler wins the Super Bowl, I think that’d be huge for our family’s name. But right now, we’ve been able to really inspire a lot of people in our hometown, and that means a lot to us. People from Rochester, N.Y., people from Endicott, N.Y. - we really show them that you can do everything that you put your mind to, and that makes us feel good. I know it motivates me to continue on the right track.”
Growing up in a household with three so big and talented athletes must’ve been difficult. And the brothers did get into a few melees with each other.
“Chandler would be watching, probably making an Instagram video. Kick-boxing, I don’t know, if I had room, I’d do pretty well against Art, because I could stick him with a move,” Jon said. “But in a small, confined area, I’d get killed, without a doubt. Arthur was a two-time state champion wrestler. He was ranked No. 1 his senior year and his junior year, as well, in high school wrestling. Grappling and putting your hands on people ... If Arthur gets his hands on you, you’re in trouble. So I’ll give it to him. But if I could stick a move, it’d be a different case.”
Jon expressed that he believes Art could be an excellent mixed martial artist with his physical tools (6-foot-3, 300 pounds) and the right training.
Art was a successful wrestler in high school and Jon said his older brother was even better than himself. But Art isn’t thinking in MMA terms right now.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. I’m happy where I’m at,” Art said. “There are not going to be any changes.”
For both Jones brothers, and likely Chandler, too, it has been an incredible resource to have such a talented athlete for a close relative.
They’re able to help each other grow as athletes and people, sharing tactics and experiences to apply to the other’s sport and life.
“Something I learned from him is mental focus,” Art said. “It’s a little different from football, but (I like) how he meditates and the different things he does to prepare himself before his competition. So that’s something I take from him.”
Said Jon: “One thing I learned from Arthur is that I love the way Arthur manages his personal life. He’s doing really well with his financials and stuff like that. It’s one thing I look up to him a lot about. He does it right - him and Chandler. You never hear about these guys doing anything outside the football field that may disgrace their team or anything like that. They’re just standup guys, and as brothers, they’re great guys to want to model myself after.”