It's a bit macabre to say it out loud, but dying young can be a pretty good career move when you're in the public eye. James Dean never had to figure out how to deal with his movies flopping, Jim Morrison avoided becoming a flabbier Mick Jagger and John F. Kennedy is forever the handsome man of Camelot because he didn't have to figure out how to deal with the escalation in Vietnam.
It's starting to feel like the untimely end of Felix Jones' rookie season is having the same effect on the way people view him. Just as quickly as Jones became the most exciting player on the Cowboys, injuries knocked him out of the picture. The Cowboys offense, so potent in the season's first month, disappeared when Jones did which only added to the feeling that he was something more than just a kick returner and change of pace back.
That feeling hasn't dissapated. Jones' return to the lineup is being greeted with a fervor more common at religious tent revivals than the less faith-based world of the NFL. Count receiver Sam Hurd among those willing to give his testimony.
"He's 10 times better than Brian Westbrook," Hurd said. "And I like Brian Westbrook. I've always liked him. He's a great player. I mean, awesome. But Felix, man. Like I always say, I ain't ever seen nothing like Felix Jones."
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Nothing like setting the bar too high for any player to reach, let alone one who has 32 offensive touches in his brief NFL career.
Here's a big jolt of perspective to match that massive jolt of hyperbole. The only thing Jones has in common with Westbrook right now is a failure to make it through all 16 weeks without an injury. Until there's a second thing on the list, let's keep the comparisons to a minimum.
Last year Jones left everyone wanting more. If the expectations keep zooming higher, he's going to leave everyone wanting more again next year. It'll feel a lot different, though.