Lions’ Marvin Jones makes statement with new ‘tribal tattoo’

Justin Rogers
The Detroit News
Marvin Jones on his new tattoo: “It’s an African and Native American tribal tattoo.”

Bloomington, Minn. – After the best season of his career, Detroit Lions receiver Marvin Jones is still in rest and recovery mode before he begins to ramp up his training again later this month. In between this time with his family, and a trip to the Super Bowl to attend a couple parties and do a handful of radio interviews, he took the time to get a new tattoo.

That’s normally not a big deal. Plenty – arguably most – players in NFL locker rooms have tattoos, and Jones already had several. But his new piece is particularly striking, covering much of his upper back and neck, sticking out well past the collar of his shirt on radio row.

Jones took a couple minutes to explain the significance of the piece.

“It’s an African and Native American tribal tattoo,” he said. “My great grandma was full American Indian, Cherokee. I always wanted something, a kind of tribal thing. I was like, well, I’d seen a few tribal tattoos on the internet and I was like, ‘Let me see some of the back of the neck tats.’ This was something I never was going to do. But I did it.

“It’s a West African motif art, as well as Native American pottery and textile art,” he continued. “The significance is the wing represents elevation, freedom, speed. It applies to what I do on the field and applies to me in life – always going up, climbing the ladder. Everything else represents the three services of my heritage, in general – family, God and community.”

In recent years, Jones has become interested in his genealogy and the tattoo is a reflection of what he’s learned about his family’s heritage.

Marvin Jones Jr.

“A lot of us, we don’t dig deep because we’re here, we’re from America and there’s a lot of stuff going on,” Jones said. “The past couple years, I really wanted to know where my family is from, what happened, and I’m getting deep down into that. It’s still ongoing.”

Jones got the tattoo done by Fred Frost of Frost City Tattoo in Utah. He got connected with Frost through teammate Haloti Ngata’s brother, Vili, who works at the shop.

“(Frost) is one of the best,” Jones said. “You want a tribal tattoo, you go to him. He made that connection and I went there. Two weeks before, he sent me a mockup and I was like, that’s the one.”

As for the Lions, Jones didn’t want to comment on Matt Patricia, who is expected to be named the Lions coach shortly after the Super Bowl, at least until the hiring becomes official. But the receiver, who led the team in receiving yards and touchdowns last season, has high expectations for the team’s offense in 2018 and beyond.

“We have all the ability to be the best in the league,” Jones said. “We have all the tools. With Kenny (Golladay) coming along, and even TJ (Jones) going out there making plays, it’s just fun. …It’s exciting. It’s going to be good for a while. We just have to get better and better every day. We have to balanced. We need to get some yards on the ground and we’ll keep doing what we’re doing.”