American Football

Former Browns WR Homer Jones passes away at age 82


Detroit Lions v Cleveland Browns
Photo by Ron Kuntz Collection/Diamond Images via Getty Images

Jones spent his final NFL season with the Browns and made one memorable play in orange and brown.

Homer Jones, who played wide receiver for seven years in the NFL, including one season with the Cleveland Browns, passed away on Wednesday.

He was 82.

Originally selected by the Houston Oilers in the 20th round of the 1963 AFL Draft, Jones was released by the Oilers after suffering a knee injury in training camp. He accepted an offer from the New York Giants to try out with the NFL team and landed a roster spot starting in 1964.

Jones would go on to post three consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 receiving yards during his six years with the Giants, posting a career-high of 1,209 yards in 1967, the same season he led the NFL with 13 touchdowns.

Known for his speed as he averaged 22.6 yards per reception with the Giants, Jones is also credited with being the first player to spike the ball after scoring a touchdown. According to

In the second quarter of a game at Yankee Stadium in 1965, Jones caught an 89-yard TD pass from QB Earl Morrall. He was on the verge of tossing the ball into the crowd, as his teammate liked to do, but remembered at the last instant that the act had been banned by Commissioner Pete Rozelle. Jones, not wanting to be fined, stopped short and threw the ball down on the grass instead. People seemed to enjoy it, and Jones coined a term for what he had just done: a “spike” – and the name stuck.

The Browns acquired Jones in January of 1970 in exchange for running back Ron Johnson, linebacker Wayne Meylan and defensive lineman Jim Kanicki. Cleveland was in need of a wide receiver after owner Art Modell traded future Hall-of-Famer Paul Warfield to the Miami Dolphins in exchange for the third overall selection in that year’s NFL Draft, which the Browns used on quarterback Mike Phipps. (Apparently, Modell realized after the fact that having wide receivers for your new quarterback is kind of important.)

Jones was plagued with knee injuries, however, and he only had 10 receptions for 141 yards and one touchdown during his lone season with the Browns.

He still made one final mark on team and league history that season in the first Monday Night Football game as he returned the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.

The Browns traded Jones to the St. Louis Cardinals after the 1970 season, but his injuries forced him to retire at the age of 29 without suiting up for the Cardinals.

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