Obscure Athletes

Where the 15 Minutes of Fame Never End

Obscure Spotlight: JJ Stokes

When I was a kid the first football video game I had was NFL Quarterback Club ’96 for the Super Nintendo. Steve Young was on the

This must be post-Young in San Fran, look at all those empty seats!

 cover and the 49ers were just considerably better than every other team in the game. Young was the quarterback of the Niners, and the receivers? Jerry Rice, and Jeral Jamal Stokes. Young to Stokes all day. It’s no wonder San Fran was so great, Terrell Owens was the third wide receiver!

The 49ers picked JJ Stokes with the tenth overall pick in the 1995 NFL Draft out of UCLA,  and he had a successful rookie season with San Fransisco, catching 38 passes for 517 yards and 4 touchdowns in twelve games. After an injury-plagued 1996 campaign in which Stokes played just six games, Stokes rebounded well in 1997, catching 58 balls and racking up 733 receiving yards. Stokes never would  return to his Steve- Young-era form after the team brought in Jeff Garcia to run the offense. Also, remember when Bill Romanowski spit in his face?

The 49ers released the 31-year-old Stokes during the ’03 offseason, and he was subsequently brought in by the Jaguars. Midway through the season, however, AFC North doormats the Cleveland Browns released wide receiver Kevin Johnson, and Johnson was claimed on waivers by the Jaguars. They then waived Stokes, who was almost immediately signed by the Patriots. In two games for New England during the 2003 season, Stokes caught two passes for 38 yards, including his first reception for New England– a 31-yard reception on a key third-quarter  third and 8

The ever-daunting Patriots receivers, including Stokes (85), Bethel Johnson, Troy Brown, David Patten, and Jabar Gaffney

 against the Texans.

Stokes was released by New England after appearing in just two games, and he never would suit up for an NFL team again. But for two games in 2003, JJ Stokes was my favorite Patriot, and to this day remains one of my all-time favorite wide receivers. Young to Stokes yo!


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