Former offensive tackle Tony Jones, a starter on two Super Bowl championship teams with the Denver Broncos in the late 1990s, died Friday at age 54.
The team announced his passing but did not state a cause of death.
Jones was a longtime resident of Gwinnett, coached for years in the Gwinnett Football League and his children, sons Tony Jr. and Kameron and daughter Kamilla, went to Peachtree Ridge. Tony Jr. coaches linebackers at Collins Hill, Kam plays college football at Chattanooga and Kamilla attends Georgia State.
"We lost a great man," Broncos Ring of Fame wide receiver Rod Smith posted on Instagram on Friday. "Just happened to be a hell of a ball playa. We love you and miss you Bone. One of the Broncos all time best tackles. greatest dresser of ALL-TIME!"
As a player, Jones was with the Broncos from 1997 to 2000, his final four NFL seasons. He played right tackle and helped Denver beat the Green Bay Packers in Super Bowl XXXII after the 1997 season, then served as the left tackle when the Broncos topped the Atlanta Falcons in the following Super Bowl. He made the Pro Bowl in the 1998 season.
"I was deeply saddened to learn of my old teammate Tony Jones passing," the quarterback of those two Denver championship teams, John Elway, posted on social media. "I only had the pleasure of playing with him a couple years, but what great years they were. We earned 2 Super Bowls together. I was so grateful for his protection. He was a great teammate and an even better man. He will be missed. My condolences to his entire family."
Undrafted out of Western Carolina, Jones broke into the NFL with the Browns in 1988, and he played in Cleveland through 1995.
After playing for the Baltimore Ravens in their inaugural 1996 season, he joined the Broncos.
Jones started all but five games in his last 11 seasons, making 16 starts in a year nine times.
"He was an amazing guy, a heck of a nice guy," Broncos Hall of Famer Steve Atwater told DenverBroncos.com. "Great football player — mean, nasty. That's the kind of guy that you want to go to war with if you're going to war. And we were really good friends. We lived in the same neighborhood when we lived in Georgia — lived down in Sugarloaf down there. We had a pretty good friendship. ... He and one other friend of mine, we got lunch a little bit before I moved from Atlanta, took me out to lunch. I always remember how nice of a guy he was, how great he was with his kids. A good guy, man."