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Oklahoma football: Landry Jones' decision to stay at OU about more than championships

His new wife Whitney Hand told Landry Jones that she didn't want to be a role in his decision on whether to go to the NFL or not, but if Jones had been heading to NFL training camp this week, it wouldn't have been easy on the newlyweds.
BY STEPHANIE KUZYDYM Modified: August 13, 2012 at 3:57 pm •  Published: August 13, 2012

— The most prolific passer in Oklahoma football history decided the NFL could wait.

It waited for love.

“It really wasn't a lot of football things, surprisingly,” he said.

He's been asked and answered the question countless times since the Jan. 5 announcement of his return. But last week as he stood in the hallway outside the Sooners' locker room, the fifth-year senior quarterback's expression grew serious as he acknowledged the heart of his decision was about more than championships.

Landry Jones was more concerned about his marriage than an NFL career, no matter how much Whitney Hand insisted he leave her out of the decision.

“She told me she didn't want to play a role in it,” said Jones, who on July 6 married the woman he met in 2008 in the dorms after they arrived in Norman as freshmen. “She told me that this is my deal, my decision...

“I tried to make her not as big a role as she should have been.”

Most newlyweds don't choose to start their lives together apart. Of course, Landry Jones and Whitney Hand aren't “most newlyweds.” As Jones enters his second week of preseason practice in preparation for the Sooners' Sept. 1 opener at Texas-El Paso, Hand and her teammates are in the midst of a 10-day, four-game basketball tour through Australia.

That kind of separation comes with being married Division I athletes. Had Jones left for the NFL, he would have reported to training camp about a week after their wedding.

“That would have been really tough on a marriage,” Jones said.

Of course, the start of Sooners' camp hasn't exactly been easy on the quarterback. Lost to season-ending injuries are two starting offensive lineman, including center Ben Habern, a groomsman in Jones' wedding.

Habern's decision last week to call it a career rather than risk further neck injuries leaves only nine of the 20 players who arrived with Jones in the signing class of 2008 still on the OU roster.

Regardless of those departures, Jones says his goals and motivations remain the same. One more season as OU's quarterback. One more shot at a title.

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