In the 1974 NFL Draft, The Cowboys ended up drafting Jones, making him the first football player from a historically black college to go that high in the NFL draft.
He became a starter at left defensive end during his second season in 1975 and by 1977 he had helped the Cowboys win Super Bowl XII. After playing five years for the Cowboys from 1974 through 1978, Jones at 28 years old and in the prime of his athletic career, left football to attempt a professional boxing career. From November 1979 through January 1980, he won the six bouts he fought as a heavyweight, recording five knockouts.
After his last ring appearance on Jan. 26, 1980, he announced he would return to play for the Dallas Cowboys. He returned to play for the 1980 season, replacing John Dutton at defensive end and performing better than his first stint with the team.
Jones earned All-Pro and Pro Bowl honors three times from 1981 to 1983. He retired at the end of 1989 season, having never missed a game, playing the most games by any Cowboys player (232) and being tied with Mark Tuinei and Bill Bates for most seasons.
Jones was one of the most dominant defensive players of his era, playing in 16 playoff games and three Super Bowls. He was part of three NFC championship teams and the Super Bowl XII champion. His success batting down passes convinced the NFL to keep track of it as an official stat.
The NFL didn’t start recognizing quarterback sacks as an official stat until 1982; although the Cowboys have their own records, dating back before the 1982 season. According to the Cowboys’ stats, Jones is unofficially credited with a total of 106 quarterback sacks and officially with 57. In 1985 he achieved a career high of 13 sacks.