FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) -Thomas Jones huddles with the New York Jets' other running backs an hour or two before every game and lets loose from the heart.
``He always gives us a speech that gets us really fired up,'' Leon Washington said. ``That's the thing I like the most. He brings so much enthusiasm before games and at halftime. People don't see that.''
A bulldozing running back on the field with biceps that bodybuilders envy, Jones is as elusive as they come around the media. In his ninth NFL season and second with the Jets, Jones shuns the spotlight and gives few peeks into his personal life.
``He has that certain knack where he knows the right thing to say to get the team going and get everybody in the right mind-set to take care of business,'' wide receiver Chansi Stuckey said. ``He's also one of the funniest guys on the team with his commentary and all his kidding around.''
No kidding? Jones handles most interviews with a polite but no-nonsense, businesslike approach.
he field, I like to be vocal with the guys,'' he said, ``because I know what it takes to win and I've been on winning football teams and played in a Super Bowl.''
Even Brett Favre is a big fan, telling reporters last week that Jones is one of the Jets' emotional leaders.
``He's an outspoken guy, but not in a negative way,'' Favre said. ``He's always the one calling us up, breaking the team down. After a tough loss, he's the first one to speak up in the locker room. Those are things that you can't coach.''
Since being acquired from Chicago before last season, the 30-year-old Jones has heard his share of criticism for not providing as big a spark to the running game as expected.
He's had three straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons, but made it into the end zone just twice last year. Jones rushed for only 65 yards in the Jets' 26-14 win over Cincinnati on Sunday, but ran for two touchdowns and caught a scoring pass for his first career three-TD game. He has 319 yards rushing and three TDs, along with 12 catches for 60 yards and a score through five games.
While Favre has given the passing game an expected boost, Jones has gotten more than 18 carries in a game only once: in Week 1, when he ran 22 times for 101 yards and a touchdown against Miami. Still, he refuses to complain.
l when we need to. You want to have a balanced offense.''
B singer Myko (MEE-ko). The 24-year-old artist's first single, ``Late Nite Creep,'' was produced by the late Static Major and is getting plenty of airplay around the country.
``He's a natural talent and he can really sing and he writes his own songs,'' Jones said. ``During the season, I'm focused on football, but I have some really good people working for me and putting everybody in the right place and keeping me informed.''
Jones previously dabbled in the music business, appearing in videos for R. Kelly, Jay-Z and Trina.
``I love music and I love just sitting in the studio and watching a song go from just lyrics and beats to a song,'' Jones said. ``It's a great opportunity for me and it's something that's fun.''
Jones and Myko met through mutual friends a few years ago, and the running back liked what he heard. A video for ``Late Nite Creep'' was shot at Jones' Miami home, and Myko's debut album, ``Options,'' is due out in February.
ving home to Atlanta after a performance in Myrtle Beach, S.C. ``He's a cool guy and he's like my big brother. When he told me what he wanted to do and I saw how he handled his business off the field, it was pretty much a no-brainer for me.''
Myko has also gotten to see the side of Jones the Jets rave about.
``He's a jokester, man,'' said Myko, who used to root against Jones whenever he played against the Falcons. ``When it's business, it's business, but when he's around us or his family, if he finds something to crack on you about, he's going to roast you. He's got a great personality and he's a hard worker, so it's a great mix.''
Myko makes sure he keeps up to date with Jones' performances every week, hoping now for plenty of trips into the end zone.
``When he has a good day, we have a good day - or even a good week,'' Myko said with a big laugh. ``We always check the stats and call him and mess around with him. So, we're always praying the boss has a good day.''

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