LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 13: Running back Bo Jackson #34 of Los Angeles Raiders breaks free on the open field against the Cincinnati Bengals defense during the 1990 AFC Divisional Playoffs at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on January 13, 1991 in Los Angeles, California. The Raiders won 20-10. (Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)
In a post on the Dallas Morning News Cowboys Blog, Todd Archer posts a statistical comparison of Cowboys sophomore running back Felix Jones to former two-sport sensation Bo Jackson. Interestingly enough, as was pointed out by ESPN via Archer, Jones is the first runner since Bo Jackson, in 1987, to gain 400 yards in his first 50 carries.
After 50 career carries, Jones had 14 more yards than did the ultimately tragic Jackson, with 438 yards to the former L.A. Raider's 424 yards.
Unlike Jackson, whose first 50 carries came all in one season, Jones had to wait until the third game of his sophomore season to reach the mark; which brings us to another, far more loathsome, and potential similarity between the two.
Word came yesterday that Jones would miss at least one week with a sprained PCL in his left knee, the third significant (meaning injury of his young career. What this means immediately is that Dallas will be without their most dynamic figure on offense when they head to Denver to face the 3-0 Broncos.
In a broader sense, though, this could be read as just another injury for a (thus far) remarkably injury-prone player. This is an admittedly hasty conclusion to draw, with only three games down in Jones' second season in the league.
But assuming that Jones doesn't make a truly miraculous comeback, assuming that he doesn't play in Denver, Jones will have missed nearly sixty percent of Dallas' games since coming into the league, with injury. In the same span, Jones has averaged 9.4 yards per carry.
Such gaudy numbers as the one above make this injury, last year's injuries, and any future injuries all the more painful, for Jones as well as Dallas fans; just as the hip injury Jackson suffered in the 1991 AFC Playoff game--that ultimately ended his football career-- was amplified by his seemingly (at the time) endless potential.
Now, this isn't to say that Jones won't bounce back from the knee injury and go on to have a successful season, and beyond that, a successful career; the talent is indisputably there. But considering the awesome, injury-plagued beginning to his NFL career, putting Jones' name in the same sentence with that of Jackson conjures more than images of unmatched dynamism.
Namely, the idea of great potential, lost.