NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Texans coach Bill O'Brien smiled when the name Ben Jones came up.
Speaking at the NFL owners meetings, O'Brien recalled Jones being a character – and a tough guy -- while playing for him in Houston. And he doesn't hide the fact he'll miss the offensive lineman, who signed with the Titans early in free agency.
"He's a great guy,'' O'Brien said of Jones. "He played every snap for us (in 2015) except for one, and that one – in the Buffalo game he got kneed in the back in a pile – and he came out for one play. He could barely walk and he went back in the game …
"(The Titans) are getting a tough guy, getting a great teammate, a smart player, and a leader in the locker room."
In Jones, the Titans are also getting a very likeable guy, O'Brien said. After signing with the Titans, Jones discussed with Nashville media his willingness to take on challenges and dares, whether it's eating bugs or drinking his own urine.
His teammates in Tennessee will love him, O'Brien predicted.
"He's a very funny guy,'' O'Brien said of Jones. "He grew up in Alabama. … He was given cows and stuff for birthdays growing up. I mean, the guy is awesome. … At Fuddruckers (restaurant), there would billboards around Houston with our center eating a cheeseburger. … He's a character, and has a great sense of humor."
A fourth-round draft pick by Houston in 2012, Jones started all 16 games for the Texans last season.
New Titans offensive lineman Ben Jones arrives at Saint Thomas Sports Park to sign his contract. (Photos: Gary Glenn)
In his career he's played in 64 straight games, with 43 starts. Jones (6-3, 308) started all 16 games at left guard in 2014, and has started 11 games at right guard in his career.
The Titans signed him to play center, but he also has experience at guard.
Titans coach Mike Mularkey and general manager Jon Robinson both said they believe he'll be a great fit in Tennessee.
"I think Ben Jones, I think that guy is important, the center position,'' Mularkey said. "That's the guy that everybody will really follow his lead, whether he is vocal or not, how he plays.
"I've heard a lot about him, and I remember doing homework on him coming out of Georgia. What you hear is what you see on the field. … He's a big anchor, especially with a lot of the team in the 3-4 (defensive scheme). He can anchor. He's a big body inside. I still think he has the ability to pull… He can do a lot for us in what we do offensively."
TitansOnline.com looks at the NFL career of OL Ben Jones. (AP Photos)