Kenyatta Jones, a former UCF football standout who played four seasons in the NFL, passed away at 39 on Sunday, June 10. Jones played in the inaugural four seasons for the Bulls and went on the be the program’s first-ever player drafted into the NFL. He later became the first UCF football player to be part of a Super Bowl-winning roster with the Patriots team that won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002.
“It is with great sadness that we have learned of the passing of Kenyatta Jones at such an early age,” USF Interim Director of Athletics Scott Kull said in a statement.
“Our first NFL Draft pick and Super Bowl champion, Kenyatta demonstrated what USF football would become and was the first of what would be many talented and hard-working Bulls that have followed their dreams to the professional ranks. Our thoughts and prayers and those of Bulls Nation are with his family during this difficult time.”
Jones was selected in the fourth round of the 2001 NFL Draft. His time with the Patriots came to an end after injuries derailed his career. Jones spent one season with the Washington Redskins, before playing in the Arena Football League.
“What stands out about Kenyatta was that he was so very, very popular with his teammates and on two teams,” said USF Associate Athletic Director Jim Louk. “I was amazed how quickly he won over his basketball teammates when he joined that team and was very much aware of how much he was loved by both teams.”
Jessica Hadley-Brown, Jones’ mother, told the Tampa Bay Times that her son died of cardiac arrest in Colorado.
Our deepest condolences go out to Jones’ family and friends during this difficult time.