Adding Super Bowl experience and quality depth to the defense, the Green Bay Packers have signed veteran linebacker Robert Jones, a 10-year pro, to a one-year contract as a free agent, GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman announced today.
The 32-year-old Jones, who collected three Super Bowl rings while with the Dallas Cowboys during his NFL career, is expected to contend for a starting position at both of the Packers' inside linebacker positions - with second-year pro Torrance Marshall at the "middle" position and/or with Nate Wayne at the weak side position.
Jones, 6-1 and 246 pounds, has started 128 of a possible 150 games during his career, which has included four seasons with Dallas (1992-95), two with the St.. Louis Rams (1996-97) , three with the Miami Dolphins (1998-2000) and the 2001 campaign with the Washington Redskins.
Along the way, he has started all 16 contests in four different seasons (1994, 1998-2000), and from 12 to 15 games in four of his other six seasons, the lone exceptions occurring in 1993, when he had a career-low 3 starts, and last season, when he started 9 of 15 games with the Redskins.
Originally the third linebacker selected in the 1992 draft, the East Carolina All-American started at middle linebacker for Dallas as a rookie, making 2 tackles in the Cowboys' 51-17 victory over Buffalo in SB XXVII. He also played in the Pokes' 30-13 conquest of the Bills in SBXXVIII and subsequently started SBXXX, amassing 8 tackles in the Texans' 27-17 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers.
The possessor of extensive playoff experience, Jones has played in 16 postseason games overall, with 14 starts, most recently starting both of Miami's playoff games following the 2000 season.
The Blackstone, Va., native had his most productive season in 1994, forging 162 tackles for Dallas, then the fourth-highest single season total in Cowboys history, while starting all 16 games for the first time in his NFL career. He has registered 974 tackles over his 10-year career, 602 solo, along with 8 quarterback sacks.
Jones, who had become an unrestricted free agent March 1, 2002, signed with the Houston Texans on April 26 but subsequently was released May 13 upon his request.
The newcomer is expected to make his practice field debut for Green Bay when the Packers hold their final offseason mini-camp June 3-12.