The Baltimore Ravens like receiver/returner Jacoby Jones for a lot of reasons. They like his ability to take it to the house when he returns a punt or kickoff (he had three total return touchdowns this season), and they certainly liked his speed when he abused half the Denver Broncos secondary for a crucial 70-yard touchdown in the divisional playoffs. But right now, Jones' teammates may like him best because his mother Emily, a New Orleans resident, cooked a major spread for the entire team when they arrived in the crescent city last Monday.
As J. Michael of CSN Baltimore reports, Jones' compadres were most impressed when Mrs. Jones laid out a true New Orleans feast, complete with gumbo, jambalaya. macaroni and cheese, stuffed bell peppers, potato salad, and bread pudding.
“I think I put on 10 pounds eating her food,” defensive end Arthur Jones recalled. “I have some more gumbo in the refrigerator in my room.”
Of course, most of these Ravens players are preparing for their first Super Bowl, and the last thing you want in the biggest game of your life is to go in all logey and overweight. Good call to do that dinner so early in the week, and as linebacker Alfred McClellan said, “We got treadmills and stuff at the hotel. Some people have been hitting the treadmill. A lot of people just run it off in practice. We should be good.”
However, Mrs. Jones did not get too crazy with the menu, leaving out some of the things her son is used to and has partaken of this week. She took a pass on delicacies like crawfish, frog legs, raccoon, possum, squirrel and rabbit.
“She didn't bring in all that,” Jones said. “That would've been too much cooking and cleaning and scraping. And who’s going to kill the things?”
(Editorial note: I had rabbit and dumplings this week, and it was really, really good. I bet even Ray Lewis would like it.)
Arthur Jones, who's from Endicott, N.Y., said that he will get out and "risk" some of the more esoteric local fare.
“I think I might have to get on that. I've had possum before. I haven’t had squirrel but I’m willing to try it. My grandma is from Alabama and one day we ran over a possum and we barbecued it up. I didn't know what it was. It was definitely delicious.”
Receiver Deonte Thompson agreed -- the local stuff is great, no matter how unfamiliar it might be to the tastebuds of those who reside elsewhere.
“I eat possum and rabbit. I’m a country boy. I eat it all. We catch rabbit from I’m from. We chase ‘em and fry it. When I was a kid, all of us from The Muck. Belle Glade (Fla.). We country boys.”
Linebacker Dannell Ellerbee, however, thought that a line should be drawn somewhere.
“I might eat the squirrel but I’m not touching a possum,” he said. “You've seen a possum?”
For offensive tackle Jah Reid, the specter of strange food would be buttressed by the fact that Mrs. Jones was cooking it.
“I don’t think I've had possum. I think possums carry diseases and stuff, don’t they? But if his mom cooks it, I’m going to eat it because I've had her food and it’s amazing. They’re still walking around. They both seem fine. Why not?”
Yes, Jacoby Jones and his mom are doing just fine. And no blaming Emily Jones if the Ravens don't win this thing.