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Sunday, July 12, 2020

Cardinals star Chandler Jones completed his Syracuse degree

Chandler Jones chose to leave Syracuse a year early in 2011, and the decision paid off when the New England Patriots selected him with the 21st overall pick in the NFL Draft. Jones hadn’t completed his degree at the time, but he can now call himself a college graduate.

Jones earned his degree from Syracuse on May 9. He had been just one class shy of it when he left following his junior season in 2011, but he began examining the possibility of completing the degree two years ago. He enrolled in his final class, a family studies course, in January.

“Why not finish what you started?” Jones asked ESPN’s Josh Weinfuss when discussing the achievement.

The course was all online, and academic advisor Salatha Willis told Weinfuss that Jones did not receive any preferential treatment. Willis said Jones did “exceptionally well” in the course and never reached out for any additional help or support.

Jones said education is extremely important to his family, and the Arizona Cardinals star equated earning his degree with when he won a Super Bowl with the Patriots.

“To my family and personally, education is very important,” Jones said. “Even though I haven’t used my degree, as of yet, I’m pretty sure it would definitely come in handy when I’m done playing football. But that’s the reason why I went back after eight, nine years of being out of college. I think that’s very important. My kids could look back and say ‘My dad graduated.’ So, I’m happy. It’s a huge accomplishment for our family.”

Obviously, Jones doesn’t need a college degree for financial reasons. He has 96 sacks in eight NFL seasons and recorded a career-high 19 last season. That production has already earned him roughly $67 million on the field, which makes his commitment to education even more admirable.

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