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Oct. 30—HOUSTON — Chris Jones and Terry Catledge were both caught off guard when the tears came, but home has a way of drawing out the emotions.
On Saturday night, inside the Houston High School gym, Jones and Catledge were honored with a jersey retirement ceremony.
As Jones spoke to the crowd and started listing off all of the people who guided him through high school, he began to choke up and took a moment to compose himself. His mother, Mary Woodhouse, came to his side to offer comfort.
"I didn't expect to get emotional," Jones told the crowd.
Jones graduated from Houston in 2013 after a stellar prep football career. He went on to star at Mississippi State and then was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft.
The defensive tackle has won a Super Bowl and been selected to the Pro Bowl three times. It's a long way from when Jones was kicked off the football team at Nettleton his freshman year. At the urging of then-Houston basketball coach Bruce Franks, Jones moved back to his hometown of Houston to play basketball and football.
Franks, who died in 2018, and his wife Linda were just two of the people to help Jones become who he is now.
"You think about all their time and efforts, and I feel like time is the only non-renewable resource," Jones said. "...I'm super grateful for the amount of relationships I established here,"
Catledge feels the same way. The 1981 grad went on to star for the South Alabama basketball team and then was drafted 21st overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in 1985. A 6-foot-8 power forward, Catledge carved out a productive eight-year NBA career with the 76ers, Washington Bullets and Orlando Magic.
He averaged 12.7 points and 6.4 rebounds per game.
"I thought I was going to be a big boy tonight and not even choke up," Catledge said, "but when I came in there and was even sitting in the stands thinking about it, reminiscing, what it meant to be back and have my jersey retired..."
It's been a rough couple of years for Catledge, who has seen his mother and two siblings die. He splits his time between Mobile, Alabama, and Houston, and is grateful for his hometown.
"I have another sister here and an auntie and an uncle and a lot of nieces and nephews. We pull together," Catledge said.
At the end of the ceremony, two giant banners honoring Jones and Catledge were unveiled on the gym wall.
"It's an honor for me to have my jersey retired, to come in that gym and see that plaque up there," Catledge said. "A lot of these kids don't even know an NBA player played here. They'll see that, and that'll motivate them."
Jones, who is in the third year of a four-year, $80 million contract with the Chiefs, wanted to further show his appreciation for Houston by giving back. So he presented the school's athletics department with a $200,000 donation.
"As a success, that's our part," Jones said. "You've got to come back and give back, whether it's your time, whether it's a valuable asset or capital. They'll benefit a lot from that, and it'll give a kid who's dealing with poverty an opportunity."