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Cardale Jones looks on during media day before the CFP Championship game.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Cardale Jones made waves back in 2014 when he won the Ohio State Buckeyes a national championship. The man who was originally third-string on the depth chart stepped up when J.T. Barrett got injured in the regular season finale against Michigan and rolled through the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin as well as two of the best teams in the country in the College Football Playoff.

Jones became well known for more than taking down the Alabama Crimson Tide in the Sugar Bowl and Marcus Mariota’s Oregon Ducks in the national championship game during his college football career. He gained criticism for tweeting that athletes shouldn’t have to go to classes because they were “pointless.”

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Nearly seven years after capturing OSU’s eighth NCAA national championship under head coach Urban Meyer, where is the former Buckeye today? He’s bounced around professional football and has even been a sheriff.

Cardale Jones’ Rocky Pro Career After Ohio State

Cardale Jones, QB of the DC Defenders, scrambles out of the pocket.
Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images

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After Jones scored two touchdowns and threw for 242 yards in the national title game, he returned to Ohio State in 2015 and parlayed that season into the Buffalo Bills selecting him in the fourth round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The 6-foot-5 passer had stints with the Bills, Los Angeles Chargers and on the Seattle Seahawks practice squad from 2016-19. He threw zero touchdowns and one interception in that time span. Jones’ hopes of becoming a star quarterback in the NFL were over, and now he looked to revive his career with a different league, that appeared to have more risks than rewards for its players.

When the XFL began in 2019, he served as the starting quarterback of the DC Defenders. While he didn’t find a ton of success in the XFL, and the league folded due to the Coronavirus Global Pandemic, he pulled off a pretty cool trick play. But the XFL had given Jones something he did not get in his short time in the NFL: an opportunity to shine. When you ask casual football fans about the most recent XFL revival, Cardale Jones is one of the names you’ll hear them mention.

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Jones’ received a tryout with the Las Vegas Raiders during the 2020 preseason, but has been out of football since the XFL.

Cardale Jones’ Journey Back to the Field

Cardale Jones in 2018 was named an honorary deputy sheriff by the Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office. According to the Port Clinton News Herald, he was fitted for a police uniform but wouldn’t necessarily be chasing down bad guys.

“Cardale will be helping us to make sure we have the bond with our young people,” Ottawa sheriff Steve Levorchick told the News Herald. “They don’t want to hear from a 55-year-old sheriff, but they’ll listen to Cardale.”

In 2021, Cardale appeared to contribute to Fox’s college football coverage and still frequently posts about the Buckeyes on his social media accounts.The former Cleveland Glenville High School star is still involved with the game he loves.

Jones also works with companies as an ambassador on Instagram. He’s posted to his 259,000 follower about watches, masks and clothing. He also teamed up with Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett to deliver Chipotle to people.

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And while it may have seemed like Jones had hung up his cleats for good after his Raiders tryout in 2020, but that wouldn’t be true. The Edmonton Elks, formerly the Edmonton Eskimos, of the Canadian Football League signed Cardale Jones to a contract in May of 2022. While this appeared to be the beginning of a comeback for the OSU signal caller, it wasn’t to be. Edmonton released Jones less than a month after signing him.

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Former Ohio State quarterback Cardale Jones only made about $1.5 million in the NFL, which isn’t a whole lot for a national championship quarterback. But it appears he’s found a way to make a living nearly seven years after starring in Columbus. Hopefully we’ll see more of Jones in the years to come.

This article was originally published on November 30, 2021, and has been updated since. 

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Patrick covered the Florida Gators during the forgettable Will Muschamp and Jim McElwain eras before spending two seasons writing for Major League Baseball. He's an SEC homer and a baseball junkie who spends his days defending the Miami Marlins. When he's not glued to a TV, you can find him ...Read more
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