Last week, during the Buffalo Bills' second week of Organized Team Activities, the normal three-man quarterback group was one short. Rookie Cardale Jones was absent from the workout, and head coach Rex Ryan wouldn't get specific.
Although, he gave one heck of a non-verbal hint.
"Yeah, he’s got a personal thing that we’ve known about. He was going to come to practice, I was like, “No, you’ll regret that decision the rest of your life,” so, you guys put two-and-two together," the head coach said, as he was rocking his arms back and forth following the end of his answer.
Even though it was voluntary, and even though it probably would have been the best thing for his professional career to have not missed that time, Rex Ryan wasn't taking no for an answer. He wanted Cardale Jones to be there for the birth of his child.
This week, Jones is back and explained the story of how it all went down, including a somewhat hilarious turn of events due to Rex telling him not to come to work that day.
"I wish they would have told me that about three-and-a-half hours earlier because I was literally getting off the exit coming back here and then they say, go back home," Jones said jokingly, while later clarifying he was three minutes away from arriving to team facilities for practice. "The first thing I did, I called my mom and was like, you’ll never believe this. Then I screenshot the message from our coach and sent it to my son’s mom and was like, 'Can you believe this?' It’s crazy."
Jones was traveling from Ohio back to Buffalo for the second week of OTAs, and then turned right back around to not miss what he called a "life-changing" event. Round trip, the journey took roughly seven hours to complete -- and Jones barely made it there in time.
"I got there about 10 minutes before she started pushing," Jones said with a smile. He's now the father to his roughly week-old son, Owen.
Right then, it showed the rookie quarterback that his head coach believed there was more to life than just football. It was a message that certainly wasn't ignored by Jones.
"That just speaks to what type of guy he is, what type of coaches he has on this staff," the quarterback remarked. "I was extremely shocked that he did that, but definitely me being a rookie quarterback, you need every rep you can take, mental and physical rep, so it threw me off, it threw me for a spin."