Jones gets chance at pro football

Former Appalachian State receiver Malachi Jones returns to the Albany Empire of the Arena Football League.

ALBANY, N.Y. — Former Appalachian State receiver Malachi Jones signed with his former Arena Football League team, the Albany Empire, on April 10.

Jones had recently played with the Atlanta Legends of the AAF until the league ceased operations on April 2. He and former Appalachian State players center Parker Collins and Will Corbin also played for the Legends. Collins signed with the Carolina Panthers on April 8.

Jones, who originally played with the High Country Grizzlies in Boone during the spring of 2017, caught 77 passes for 1,156 yards and 29 receiving touchdowns for the Empire in 2018. Jones finished with 34 overall touchdowns for the Empire last season.

Jones signed with the Chicago Bears following his season with the Empire in 2018. He was released by the Bears, but a Bears consultant and former Minnesota coach Brad Childress, brought Jones to the Legends.

“I couldn’t be more excited to head back to the Capital Region to play for the Empire again,” Jones said in a statement on the Empire’s website. “Special thanks to Coach (Rob) Keefe, the coaching staff, and the Empire organization for giving me another opportunity to do what I love. I can’t wait to get started and help this team pursue a championship.”

Jones was the National Arena League Rookie of the Year following his season with the Grizzlies. He caught 66 passes for 685 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games.

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