When Jarvis Jones left high school and signed with the USC Trojans, many thought he would go down as one of the greats in the legendary history of the program.
But then a neck injury changed everything as medical doctors with USC would not clear Jones to play again. Even some with second opinions said that he should never play football again.
So Jones did what anyone elite athlete would do. He decided to get some opinions from medical professionals on his own. His search led him to the Georgia Bulldogs and, as they say, the rest is history.
And with every NFL team awaiting to bid for his services with the upcoming NFL Draft, the story just got a lot better for Jones and a lot more ridiculous for the Trojans.
Independent NFL medical personnel officially cleared Jones today for “unrestricted play” and even said that he was misdiagnosed at USC. Craig Brigham conducted the medical evaluation and reported that Jones never had a significant spinal-cord contusion refuting the findings by USC doctors who diagnosed Jones with spinal stenosis in 2009. Brigham determined Jones had a very mild incident of spinal-cord concussion or a stinger and believes the situation has long since been resolved.
Brigham refers to Jones’ two season as a star for Georgia as further evidence of his medical conclusion. He also concluded that Jones can continue to play even if other similar injuries occur thus clearing him “without restriction”.
So now the ball quickly bounces into the court of all of those who dealt with Jones at USC. Was there something else that determined their diagnosis? Did politics play into their decision? Are the medical professionals affiliated with Southern Call just that inept in their jobs?
Whatever happened, it will be very interesting to see their comments on the NFL’s clearance today. If they even give one.
But even greater than the misdiagnosis is the fact Jones will now understand how it feels to be blitzed like he normally does. Because every NFL team is now pinning their ears back and ready to rush to the forefront to select this great defender.
M Shannon Smallwood is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and the US Basketball Writers Association.
Follow him @woodysmalls.