UConn in the Pros: The end for Jones, playoff hopes for Thompson and Hook C alums taking on the diamond 


Football: No more bounce for combine broad jump record holder? 

In 2015, Connecticut cornerback Byron Jones solidified his first-round draft status and made national headlines with his incredible, world record-breaking 12’ 3’’ broad jump at the NFL Combine. Jones went on to be drafted 27th overall by the Dallas Cowboys and then sign a 5-year 82.5 million dollar deal with the Miami Dolphins in 2020 after five excellent seasons in Dallas.  

After missing the entirety of the 2022-2023 NFL season due to injury, the former second-team all-pro announced that the injuries he has suffered across his NFL career have left him unable  

to “run and jump.” Jones also warned players in his post: “DO NOT take the pills they give you. DO NOT take the injections they give you. If you absolutely must, consult an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications.” 

Several weeks after his post, the Miami Dolphins officially released Byron Jones just three years into his contract. The move is a critical one for a Dolphins team that is 17.7 million dollars over the cap. Jones’s release will save the team 13.9 million dollars in the 2023 league year. Despite the announcement of his physical limitations, Jones told sources close to ESPN that he has no plans to retire. We will have to see if there is a team willing to take a flyer on the eight-year veteran cornerback.  

Hockey: Can Thompson help Sabres snap playoff drought?  

A city that hasn’t seen playoff hockey in 12 years is keeping its fingers crossed for a final, last-second push to the postseason in 2023. With six games left on their schedule, the Buffalo Sabres playoff chances are hanging by a thread, but winning five of their last six (and a little help) could potentially slide them into the final wild-card spot.  

Buffalo welcomed the return of their star center Tage Thompson after he missed the previous three games with a minor injury. The former Connecticut standout has enjoyed great success this season, finding the back of the net 44 times to pair along with 46 assists. Thompson and company will need to play their best six games of the season to have a prayer at the postseason this year. 

Baseball: 2011 Super Regional Trio takes the field for year ten in the majors.  

12 years have gone by since UConn Baseball advanced to their first ever super regional. A team that had several players’ names called at the 2011 MLB Draft, such as George Springer, Nick Ahmed and Matt Barnes. All three players got the call to the big leagues in 2014, and have carved out opening day roster spots every year since.  

With the 2023 MLB season underway, the trio of Springer, Ahmed and Barnes will look to continue their very solid major-league careers and help their clubs make a push to the postseason with their respective clubs.  

Star outfielder George Springer is set to be the everyday right fielder and leadoff hitter for the Toronto Blue Jays this season. Springer has enjoyed great success over his major league career, being named to four all-star teams and winning the World Series Most Valuable Player in 2017 with the Houston Astros. In 2023, Springer has started 6-25 with two runs batted in and two steals early on. 

Longest tenured Diamondback, Nick Ahmed, has been splitting starts with Geraldo Perdomo at the shortstop position this season. Ahmed is in his 10th year with the Arizona Diamondbacks and has carved out a nice career for himself. His bat is not what the Diamondbacks had hoped it would be, but his two gold glove awards have helped him make 820 starts in his major league career. In 2023, Ahmed is 4-12 with one run batted in early on this season.  

Relief pitcher Matt Barnes is set for his debut season with the Miami Marlins after nine solid seasons in Boston. Barnes has seen plenty of ups and downs across his major league career such as his first career all-star team in 2021 and a World Series ring with the Boston Red Sox in 2018. With a career earned run average of 4.05, the veteran reliever will look for more consistency coming out of the bullpen for an emerging Marlins pitching staff. Barnes has not allowed a run across two innings early on in 2023.  

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