In their one off day this week, Ravens defensive tackle
They challenged each other to an online game of Madden, naturally with Arthur as the Ravens and Chandler as the Patriots. It was a preview of this weekend’s showdown at M&T Bank Stadium.
But as they were about halfway through their game, the Internet went out and they had to call it quits.
“That’s really the only time I’ve talked with him this week,” Arthur said.
They don’t have time to talk. Now it’s all about business.
The two brothers have spent more time this week talking about each other, rather than talking to each other. Arthur and Chandler have taken center stage in the buildup to Sunday’s game, as the Jones siblings are in store for a weekend that they could hardly imagine growing up.
The excitement begins around 10 p.m. Saturday in Toronto, when middle brother Jon “Bones” Jones will defend his UFC light heavyweight championship against Vitor Belfort at UFC 152. After the fight, Jon and parents, Arthur and Camille, will head to Baltimore to catch Chandler and Arthur in action on Sunday Night Football.
“It’s awesome,” Arthur said, with a big smile across his face. “It’s definitely a unique situation. It’s a blessing. It’s definitely going to feel like a family reunion.”
It will be a landmark weekend for the Jones brothers, who have all ascended to the top of their respected sports.
Arthur, 26, is a former fifth-round draft pick and is playing a critical role at defensive end for the Ravens. Chandler, 22, was a first-round pick for the Patriots this year and has quickly moved into a starting role, and Jon, 25, is arguably the best fighter in the UFC.
“This is a great family – credit to their parents,” Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh said. “What they’ve accomplished, you have probably the top fighter in the world. You have two NFL football players both playing at an incredibly high level with great college careers and they’re just great people.”
Their rise in the sports world came after an upbringing that had its share of challenges.
Their oldest sister, Carmen, died from brain cancer before her 18th birthday. As she battled through the illness, Arthur, Jon and Chandler were there by her side.
“At a young age, we had to be raised fast, brought up fast,” Arthur said. “We weren’t doing the normal things that kids were doing – going outside, playing football, basketball – we pretty much had to be certified nurses. We had to learn how to put a feeding tube in, and learn how to pretty much care for our sister.”
In recent years, the Jones brothers have also seen their mother fight diabetes, which has caused her to lose her sight.
Even though she can no longer see, Camille is still a regular spectator in the stands for the boys’ football games or fights.
“It sucks that she can’t actually see, but she hears the announcers when we’re making a tackle or when Jon gets his hand raised,” Arthur said. “She kind of has her own personal vision in her brain how everything is going down. “
“Even now when she comes to games I swear I still can hear her voice. That voice calling out, ‘get him.’ I still can hear it.”
Camille is fighting her disease, and neither she nor her sons are allowing it to get them down. That mentality helps explain how Arthur, Jon and Chandler developed their competitive spirit.
“There are a lot of situations that bring us closer and closer together, and it’s something that a lot of people don’t understand that we have a bond that can’t be broken,” Arthur said.
From the time they were young, they have been fighting and competing.
“We destroyed the house,” Arthur said. “Wrestling for everything, from who was going to play first in the video game, to who was going to get the last piece of chicken or cookie, if the light switch was going to be on or off, it was just a constant competition. That’s what made us what we are now, just competitive people.”
As Arthur heads into this memorable weekend, he’s excited about the opportunity to have the spotlight on his family.
But his big-brotherly instincts are still intact. He hopes that Chandler makes it out of Sunday’s game healthy, and it's always difficult to watch Jon fight, knowing that there’s nothing Arthur can do to help.
But once the Ravens take that field on Sunday, Arthur’s focus is to come away victorius so that he’ll have the bragging rights for the next family gathering.
“It is a blessing and a dream come true,” Arthur said. “But mainly I have to focus in on my job and take care of my own business first and I know Jon is going to take care of business.”