Canadian Football League

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Former Canadian Football League Keeps Busy!

Garrick Jones of the Houston Texans wears four separate hats. But only one is a football helmet.
('Offensive lineman Jones works out regularly at Reliant Stadium to stay in football shape.
Politically active Jones interns for Houston City Councilman Gordon Quan.
Entrepreneurial Jones runs a graphic design firm he started in high school.
And management executive Jones, 26, is busy orchestrating an upcoming tour of China in his role as co-CEO of Battiste Muzic Group 1965, a recording and production operation based in Missouri City.
Keeping up with Jones can be a full-time job.
"The guy's got tremendous energy," says Jeff Courtney, who represents Jones as a sports agent at Victory Sports Group in Montgomery, Ala.
"I've learned how to budget my time," says Jones, an offensive tackle listed by the Texans at 6 feet 5 inches and 306 pounds.
Sweet music
When Jones isn't busy blocking defensive behemoths, he often produces music. And plays music. He also has composed and personally performed music.
Jones runs Battiste, which goes by the label of BMG 1965, with co-chief executives Derrick Blaylock and Cynthia "C.C." Cook.
Blaylock and Jones hit it off when both played for the Kansas City Chiefs. Blaylock, a 25-year-old alumnus of Stephen F. Austin, today is a running back for the New York Jets.
Cook founded Battiste in 1965.
As far as the ins and outs of the music industry go, Jones labels Cook his mentor.
She's married to a BMG 1965 singer, Billy Cook SupaStar.
SupaStar has five albums under his belt. The rhythm-and-blues singer soon will take his talent on the road.
China is the planned destination for at least a month-long tour that pairs BMG's R&B artist with another performer, Lil' Kano.
"He's the rapper," says Jones.
So Jones envisions the two musicians offering a best-of-both-worlds mix for the sprawling Chinese market.
Likely to begin in June, the China tour will roughly coincide with an album that the best-of-both-worlds duo is releasing in the United States.
BMG 1965 wants to hit two markets at once, notes Jones.
Of course, China offers a population that dwarfs that of the United States. But there's more.
"It's really a big, big untapped market," says Jones. "There's not a lot of competition over there."
Image is everything
As he strives to secure shows for his musicians in China, Jones also operates a graphic design team at Southern Flavor Images. Jones was only 15 when he launched the firm with Stacey McKinney.
The two men are still partners in the business.
Southern Flavor Images counts charity events involving National Football League players as a fertile source of projects for the decade-old firm.
Jones majored in graphic design at Arkansas State. He hasn't finished his degree requirements, notes player agent Courtney.
After his mother got sick, Jones left college to help run the family's business.
He missed his senior year at Arkansas State and, as Jones puts it, was "out of ball for a year and a half."
The absence set up a more difficult path to navigate to the NFL.
To "get him a senior year," notes Courtney, Jones signed on with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
Success in that Canadian Football League gig put Jones on the NFL map. After the CFL season ended, he signed with the Chiefs.
The Chiefs later put him on waivers. The Texans snapped him up in 2003. Jones, No. 73, has been on the Texans roster ever since.
In 2004, Jones enjoyed some success while playing in preseason games for the Texans. But he was inactive for all 16 regular-season games.
Still, the team is keeping him around and continuing to develop his skills.
"The Texans are always looking for (offensive) tackles," according to Jon Peterson, a financial adviser who works with Jones for Next Level Financial Group in Sausalito, Calif.
The fact that Jones, in his mid-20s, already has retained the services of a certified financial adviser underscores the football player's emphasis on the future as well as the present.
"I had to think about retirement before I even got here (to the Texans)," acknowledges Jones, who was a sort of football journeyman before coming to Houston.
He previously had only brief NFL stops with the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Chiefs.
Even as an NFL reserve, Jones pulls a paycheck most people would cheer.
"This year he'll get $380,000, next year $465,000," says Peterson, referring to the minimum base salary for NFL third-year and fourth-year players.
Meanwhile, Jones complements his traditional jobs as lineman, graphic designer and music executive with the work for Councilman Quan. In that internship, Jones is honing a mix of skills, including how to network.
"It's really helped me grow," says Jones.
Football won't be forever, and Jones understands that, notes agent Courtney.
"Garrick's looking out for his future and looking out for his wife's future ...," says Courtney. "He makes sure everything is addressed and everything is covered."


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