EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – It’s become a tradition every summer in El Paso, and now it has added meaning to all that participate.
Green Bay Packers running back Aaron Jones, and his twin brother, Alvin Jones Jr., hosted their fourth Jones Brothers Football Camp at their alma mater, Burges High School, on Thursday afternoon.
The former UTEP stars held the camp for over 200 kids in honor of their father, Alvin Sr., who passed away from complications with COVID-19 in April.
“It’s my dad. He’s the reason we started doing these camps and giving back, him and my mom,” said an emotional Aaron Jones at the camp. “It’s special, I appreciate my family for being out here. It means a lot and I know he’s up there smiling down on us.”
As it has in previous years, the camp had two sessions, one for elementary aged kids, and one for players in middle school and high school. The camp was the brainchild of the twins’ father, who was committed to giving back to the El Paso community and instilled those same principles in his children.
“This is what he took pride in, putting the camp together,” said Alvin Jones Jr. “At first we weren’t going to have one and then my mom (Vurgess Jones) was like, ‘When’s the camp? We’re having one.’ We ended up having one and it’s a great feeling being out here helping the little kids.”
Joining the twins were some former UTEP teammates, and current NFL players, including Miami Dolphins defensive back Nik Needham, Jacksonville Jaguars defensive lineman Roy Robertson-Harris and Packers running back Dexter Williams.
Needham and Robertson-Harris played at UTEP with the Jones brothers, and were able to develop personal relationships with the late Alvin Jones Sr. that lasted for years. They both felt a pull to attend the camp for that reason.
“(Alvin Sr.) was one of my dad’s best friends. I have to be here, that’s my family,” said Robertson-Harris. “I feel obligated to be here, show my face and be present.”
Needham echoed those sentiments.
“He definitely was a role model for me. To come back here and support him knowing he’s watching over us, and help his kids and give back to the community that he helped raise, that feels good for sure,” he said.
Aaron Jones got emotional when he was asked about his former UTEP teammates, and current Packers teammates being willing to come help with the camp in honor of his father.
“They were there for me in the toughest times and they’re still here,” Jones said. “They’ve come to every camp and I really appreciate those guys. They never miss a beat.”
NFL training camps will begin league-wide in just a few weeks, and Jones was heading back to Green Bay on Thursday night directly after the camp ended to participate in Packers workouts over the weekend. Green Bay handed him a 4-year, $48 million contract extension in March.
Jones, Needham and Robertson-Harris are all hoping for big seasons in 2021, but Green Bay could be in flux entering training camp. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has not attended any Green Bay workouts in the offseason and reportedly wants to be traded. With or without the future Hall of Famer at quarterback, Jones is preparing to have a big season, and the Packers once again have Super Bowl aspirations.
“I go about it the same way I came in. Nothing is guaranteed, your job can be taken from you in any minute and you can be cut at any moment,” Jones said. “No matter how much you get paid, you have to do the same things that got you there and continue to do those things. Continue to grow and build from there.”
The Packers open the 2021 regular season on the road against the New Orleans Saints on Sept. 12.