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Legendary NFL player dies at 82

Junior wide receiver Garrett Brown scores on a strike from quarterback Kale Pearson as the U.S. Air Force Academy Falcons met the U.S. Naval Academy at the Academy's Falcon Stadium Oct. 4, 2014. Air Force defeated Navy 30-21 in Colorado Springs, Colo. (Air Force photo/Mike Kaplan)
June 20, 2023

Former Giants wide receiver Homer Jones, who is remembered for being the first player in the National Football League to spike a football after scoring a touchdown, passed away last week after battling lung cancer at the age of 82.

Jones’ death was confirmed by his daughter, Lacarroll Jones Nickelberry. Last Wednesday, the Giants organization shared a tribute in honor of Jones’ legacy.

“Homer Jones had a unique combination of speed and power and was a threat to score whenever he touched the ball,” Giants CEO John Mara said. “He was one of the first players (if not the first) to spike the ball in the end zone after scoring a touchdown and he quickly became a fan favorite. I remember him as an easygoing, friendly individual who was well liked by his teammates and coaches. I remember him as an easygoing, friendly individual who was well liked by his teammates and coaches.”

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According to the Daily Caller, Jones was selected by the Houston Oilers during the fifth round of the 1963 AFL Draft and selected by the Giants in the 20th round of the 1963 NFL Draft. Jones was released by the Houston Oilers after a training camp injury and ultimately played for the Giants in the NFL.

In addition to being remembered as the first NFL player to spike the football after a touchdown, Jones is remembered for catching 214 passes for 35 touchdowns and 4,835 yards. According to the Giants organization, Jones currently still has the 25th spot in the team’s record book for total receptions, and is sixth in the Giants’ record book for both yardage and touchdowns. During his six seasons with the Giants, he was a two-time Pro Bowler, before playing one final season with the Cleveland Browns in 1970.