New Titans Center Eats Bugs, Squashes Defenders

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Titans offensive lineman Ben Jones met with reporters after signing his contract on Thursday, and it was quite a treat for anyone within earshot.

The big man has a heck of a personality, and some pretty funny stories.

Like the time he ate a cockroach.

"After a hot day in practice, one of the guys said something and threw a number out there,'' Jones said with a smile. "I knocked it out and that was it. It's just a bug."

Or the time he drank his own urine to win another bet.

"It paid for a good weekend for me and my wife,'' Jones said. "We had a good time."

Jones has also eaten grasshoppers, praying mantises, and many others insects. Asked if he'd ever seen the old television show Fear Factor, Jones smiled and said "I'd win that."

"What wouldn't I eat? It depends on what the money is. I have done a little bit of everything. You name it, it has probably been done,'' Jones said. "Growing up on a farm down in Alabama, I had some good times with my older brother. It started off being a buck or two and now guys in this league I have a little more money I guess."

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 didn't sign him for insect control, of course.

His job will be to keep defenders from swarming around quarterback Marcus Mariota, however. Seeing his quarterback get hit bugs him.

"That's my job. We take pride in him being up and clean,'' Jones said of the quarterback. "You turn around and he doesn't have a spot on him, hey, that's all we want to hear. As long as he is healthy and our running back is scoring touchdowns we're happy."

Titans general manager Jon Robinson said he envisions Jones playing center, but his versatility will give the team options.

"Ben is a tough, smart, dependable player," Robinson said. "He is a great teammate and passionate about the game. He is strong and a good finisher with some nasty to him. Additionally, he has some position flexibility - a starting center with ability to play either guard as well."

The Titans like his toughness, and mindset.

TitansOnline.com looks at the NFL career of OL Ben Jones. (AP Photos)

"It is going to be a physical game, and we're going to run the ball, and we're looking forward to that,'' Jones said. "We're looking for tough guys who are going to grind every day.

"I take pride in what I do on the field. I try to be the same guy on the field during practice and in games. I try and finish everybody. I may not be the most athletic guy, but you're going to get my best on every play."

Reporters learned a few more things about Jones during his media availability.

He explained his pregame ritual of walking barefoot on the field before each game, something he has done since high school. He said it started because his brother rushed him into going for a walk on the field before a game. He'd just taken a nap, and didn't have time to put on shoes. When the team won a few games after his barefoot strolls, it became a superstition. Now it's part of his game day routine, from Houston to Buffalo.

Jones also explained why he wears No.60. It's to honor his father, who passed away in a helicopter crash when Ben Jones was just 10 years old.

The University of Georgia product made one thing clear on his first official day as a Titan.

He's ready to step into the middle of the offensive line, and push some folks around.

"I have to bring something to the table,'' Jones said of his physical style of play. "I am not the biggest or the tallest guy or the most athletic. But by golly you are going to have to whip my tail every play."

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