INDIANAPOLIS – The infectious smile of
That look is new to Colts fans but J.J. Stanbro, Jones’ high school wrestling coach, has been seeing that for more than a dozen years.
“That’s exactly the same thing you are going to see today, tomorrow and the next day. That’s Arthur Jones.” Stanbro says of Jones upbeat personality.
“He’s always happy. He’s always willing to extend his hand, shake your hand and say, “Hello, good morning, and how are you?”
The only time that smile may disappear will come on Sunday’s for about three hours when Jones hits the gridiron.
Stanbro saw that switch turn on many times at Union-Endicott High School in Rochester, N.Y.
Jones advanced to the state championship match at the heavyweight weight class three times in high school, standing on top of the podium twice.
It’s rare for a sophomore to dominate at the heavyweight level but that’s exactly what Jones did back in 2002.
“I had a big guy that was extremely unusual,” Stanbro says recalling the 16-year old Jones. “He had a really big butt and big hips, kind of narrow at the shoulders, with real long arms. As soon as he started to wrestle and those hips started moving, people couldn’t keep up with him. He could move extremely quick for a 275-pounder and he was amazing to watch wrestle because he was a really good thrower.
“Nobody thought a guy with those hips, could get somebody as equally as big through the air. Arthur was very good at doing that.”
That hip motion and hand fighting Jones displayed on the mat transferred right over to the football field, too.
As a senior, Jones was a dominant force among heavyweights and that included some rather quick, and lopsided, regular season matches.
Before numerous matches, Stanbro would explain to Jones that his opponent that night was nowhere near the level of wrestler that could challenge his own heavyweight.
The conversation wasn’t needed though because Jones already knew the message that Stanbro was trying to convey.
“He wasn’t going to put a show on for everyone in the stands. That’s not what Arthur was about,” Stanbro says of Jones lopsided opponents.
“He would go out, shake the kid’s hand and treat him respectfully. He would do a couple of takedowns, turn the kid over and he would pin him because he didn’t want the kid to feel bad how he did. He didn’t want the kid to feel embarrassed. That’s not Arthur’s personality.”
Each summer, Stanbro welcomes the Jones’ brothers back into the Union-Endicott wrestling room.
The joy Stanbro gets from reuniting with Arthur and his two younger brothers pales in comparison to the looks he sees on his wrestlers faces when the Jones brothers speak.
It’s not a matter of if, but rather when, the Jones brothers will return and now to see Arthur join the Colts extends an extra-wide smile to Stanbro’s face.
“Means the world. It really does. More so to know that he is still extremely caring about people, knowing where he came from,” Stanbro says.
“He’s a kid that’s always willing to extend his hand to say hi. Doesn’t matter who you are and that will never leave him. That’s the kind of stuff that makes me most extremely proud of him.”