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Chicago Bears Sign App State Alum Malachi Jones

The Chicago Bears signed Malachi Jones on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of Appalachian State Sports Information)

A sterling AFL debut has created a second shot at the NFL for Appalachian State alum Malachi Jones.
On Thursday night, the Chicago Bears signed the 24-year-old Jones, who is a 6-foot-2, 215-pound receiver. Earlier this week, he was named the Arena Football League’s Rookie of the Year thanks to a season in which he led the league in receiving yards (1,156 on 77 catches), receiving yards per game (96.3) and yards per catch (15.0) as a member of the Albany Empire. He ranked second in the league with 29 touchdown catches and also had five touchdown runs.
A college standout in Boone, Jones led App State with 585 receiving yards as a junior in 2014 and ranked second on the team with 25 receptions for 463 yards as a senior. He had hernia surgery two days after the 2015 Camellia Bowl victory against Ohio, went through extensive rehab and ran the 40-yard dash in 4.47 seconds during App State’s spring pro day.
The Atlanta Falcons signed him as an undrafted free agent that year but released him after the team’s rookie camp. After visiting other NFL teams and CFL franchises, he began a job in marketing and advertising, but he returned to football as a receiver for the Boone-based High Country Grizzlies in October 2016. He was named the National Arena League’s Rookie of the Year after totaling 66 catches for 685 yards and 16 touchdowns in 10 games, production that led to his AFL opportunity.