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Former El Cerrito football standout, who played in NFL, commits suicide

Rod Jones, a former El Cerrito High School football standout who went on to star at the University of Washington and play three seasons in the NFL, died by suicide Dec. 8. He was 54.

Jones’ daughter, Jamie Jones, told the Seattle Times that her father, who died from a single gunshot to the head from the day before, had recently been diagnosed with early-onset dementia. She told the newspaper the family believes Jones was suffering from symptoms of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE).

The Times’ report indicated the family was going to donate Jones’ brain to Boston University’s CTE Center for research.

“He’s been dealing with depression for years,” Jamie told the Times. “I can’t pinpoint exactly when, but he started to notice some memory loss. He just couldn’t remember things.”

Jones was born in Richmond on March 3, 1964. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 240 pounds when he was a professional, Jones played tight end and defensive end for El Cerrito. He was part of the Gauchos’ powerhouse 1983 team that went 11-2 overall and 5-0 in the Richmond-Berkeley Athletic League.

In 2012, Jones and members of the 1983 football team were among those inducted into the El Cerrito High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

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