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UPDATE: Chiefs-Willie Jones


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Monday, August 4

Chief player injured late in the first half


Associated Press

CANTON, Ohio -- Kansas City Chiefs offensive tackle Willie Jones sprained his neck but had feeling in his hands and feet after being injured late in the first half of the Pro Football Hall of Fame game.

Jones, who played for Grambling, crumbled to the turf with 17 seconds left in the second quarter after briefly blocking Green Bay Packers linebacker Marcus Wilkins on a pass play.

After going down, Jones, who was inactive for two games late last season with a neck injury, laid motionless for nearly 10 minutes before he was removed from the field by medical personnel.

Jones was taken by ambulance to Aultman Hospital. A Chiefs spokesman said Jones sustained a sprained neck, and Kansas City coach Dick Vermeil confirmed that Jones has begun to get feeling back in his extremities.

"The tingling is back in his hands and feet," Vermeil said after Kansas City's 9-0 lightning-shortened win. "He has been like this before. But this wasn't anything like the first time."

The game was called in the third quarter because of a storm.

While the 27-year-old Jones was being attended to, players on both sidelines knelt in prayer as the crowd of more than 20,000 inside Fawcett Stadium fell silent.

"It was horrible," Chiefs tight end Tony Gonzalez said. "I felt like my heart stopped. That's the worst feeling in the world, to see a player lying there and not moving. It's good to hear that he's doing better."

Jones didn't appear to fall awkwardly or sustain any significant blow to the helmet.

This is the second straight year that a player has been seriously injured in the Hall of Fame game.

Last year, Houston safety Leomont Evans was temporarily paralyzed in the expansion Texans' preseason opener against the New York Giants.

Evans bruised his spinal cord in the third quarter while rushing a punt.

The 6-foot-6, 355-pound Jones was a last-minute starter, replacing John Tait. Jones appeared in six games with the Chiefs last season.

He sustained the neck injury in a Nov. 7 practice, missed two games and was placed on injured reserve for the remainder of the season.

Jones, who went to Grambling, won a Super Bowl ring with the St. Louis Rams in 1999 after making the team as an undrafted rookie free agent.

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