Most of you already know that I’m a huge Buckeye fan. Therefore, it is a bit difficult to write positive things about a guy who is a former player for the Buckeye’s biggest rival: University of Michigan… and with Charles Woodson no less! However, when it comes to Dhani Jones, LB for the Cincinnati Bengals, I can’t help myself. He’s a guy with unexpected passions and a darn good player to boot.
His career has been a rollercoaster ride, which started by being selected by the New York Giants in the sixth round (177th overall) of the 2000 NFL Draft. After that, the Philadelphia Eagles acquired him from the Giants as a free agent in 2004, which led him to start in Super Bowl XXXIX. On April 30, 2007 the Eagles released Jones and on July 6, 2007, he signed with the New Orleans Saints, where he was thought to be able to push for a starting job. However, the Saints released him on September 1, 2007, when finalizing their roster. On September 19, 2007, he signed with the Bengals and he has played there ever since, becoming a star on D, where he has been near the top in most categories for the Bengals and a great leader for the young linebackers that have come in.
Not only has he had a crazy football career, he also has some awesome hobbies that have nothing to do with football: reality tv and bicycling. On TV, he has been involved with a show on the Travel network that I really enjoy titled “Dhani Tackles the Globe.” Through the show, Dhani has gone all over the world tackling other sports such as martial arts, Jai Alai, Mui Tai boxing, and, my favorite: hurling! In season two, he really stepped things up and went to Mt. Everest, played water polo in Croatia and finished up doing the thing he loves the most, bicycling (Dhani can be seen riding his bike to practices during camp and has participated in the Durham Doughman Challenge on the Man vs. Food show.) If you are interested in the show, it airs on Sundays at 7p.m. on the Travel Channel.
As if a reality show and his love for cycling isn’t enough, Dhani also owns the Bowtie Cafe in Cincinnati, which has a very humble and heartfelt beginning. Long story short, when Dhani played for the NY Giants, he had a good friend named Kunta Littlejohn. Kunta had some advice for him and said, “If you want to be anybody, you gotta rock a Bow Tie.” Dhani didnt really want to wear a bowtie, laughed it off, and never did. Later, Kunta was going through a rough recovery from Lymphoma, and Dhani was looking for a way to show support for his friend. He wore a bowtie to honor him. Thankfully, Kunta is fully recovered. And Dhani is still rocking the bowtie.
Some say these unexpected passions are a distraction, but I applaud him for being well-rounded and not letting football become his life! Even though he played for University of Michigan, he has become one of my favorite players in the NFL and leads the Bengals with a passion so intense, it rubs off on the rest of the team. I have grown to accept where he played his college ball simply because of the man he is. Every time I read one of his twitter updates, I am very pleased with what I read.
I hope that I someday have the opportunity to shake hands with this guy who loves to hate MY favorite college team. Because through reality tv, his book (link below), and bowties, I have truly grown to admire him.
Even though he played for University of Michigan.
For more information on Dhani’s book, in which he chronicles his travels, check out: