New Britain native “Lucky Tebucky” Jones wasn’t so lucky in his rookie campaign

We’re going back in time as part of our Greatest Athletes in Connecticut History Tournament, which pits the 64 best athletes in state history in a single-elimination tournament, voted on by you, the fans. Today, we’re talking about New Britain native Tebucky Jones. The following is from a 1998 broadcast of Tailgate ’98:

(WTNH)–Syracuse stand-out safety Tebucky Jones was the 22nd overall pick in the first round by the New England Patriots in the 1998 NFL Draft. That’s also the day ESPN sportscaster Chris Berman coined the nickname “Lucky Tebucky.”

“A matter of fact, we had a banquet up in Boston and he [Berman] was there and he said it [“Lucky Tebucky”] again,” Jones said.

The luck for “Lucky Tebucky” has been unlucky– say that 10 times fast. The preseason hasn’t been much fun.

He’s been injured nearly every game. And if you can’t play, you can’t impress anyone.

“Tebucky is still in the back-up role and he’s still developing,” former New England Patriots head coach, now Seattle Seahawks head coach, Pete Carroll said. “This process is going to take a long time, it’s going to take a long time for him anyway, but this has set him back some, so we’ll bring him on when we can.”

Due to the late start, you’d think there would be a lot of pressure on the first round pick, but that’s not Tebucky. Remember, this guy was Connecticut’s Player of the Year back in high school.

“I don’t really listen to what other people say, Jones said. “I just tell myself to go out there and do my best.”

The NFL experience hasn’t exactly been exactly glamorous for Tebucky so far, but as his three kids head off for school this month, he is happy about one thing– at least he’s no longer a student.

“The kids are starting school and I’m going to work, he said. “Before, I used to go to school and practice, so I’m happy there’s no more school.”

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