Tom Jones was born and raised in a suburb of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and studied English at the University of South Florida from 1982 to 1986.
He began his writing career with the St. Petersburg Evening Independent in 1985. He then went on to work for the St. Petersburg Times from 1987 to 1991, the Tampa Tribune from 1991 to 1996, the St. Petersburg Times again from 1996 to 2000 and the Minneapolis Star-Tribune from 2000 to 2003. He then rejoined the St. Petersburg Times for a third time in his career in 2003, where he worked ever since.
Jones has spent most of his career covering the NHL, including being a beat writer for more than 15 years of the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Minnesota. Wild. He also spent two years on the Tampa Bay Rays beat. He then become a columnist at Times starting in 2007. Jones has won several national and state writing awards, including a top 10 game story in the nation in 1998 as named by the Associated Press Sports Editors.
Over the course of his career, Jones has covered the Olympics, the World Series, the Super Bowl, the Stanley Cup finals, baseball and hockey all-star games, the NCAA basketball tournament and the Frozen Four.
Jones lives in St. Petersburg with his wife, Patty, and sons, Sam and Andy.
With over two decades of reporting on professional and collegiate sports for the Tampa Bay Times, through performance and work experience in journalism and broadcasting in television and radio, Rick Stroud has cultivated an impressive list of sources and utilized his knowledge to produce an outstanding body of work in both print and electronic mediums.
During his career, Stroud has reported on national sporting events including 22 Super Bowls, the NCAA Final Four, and the Major League Baseball Playoffs. While working as the beat writer assigned to the University of Florida at the Times, Stroud’s stories documented NCAA rules violations by the football and basketball programs. The stories for which Stroud won second place for Best Investigative Reporting from the Associated Press Sports Editors, led to sanctions against both Gators programs.
Since 2004, Stroud has appeared as an NFL Insider for ESPN2’s First Take and is a regular contributor to ESPN’s SportsCenter, NFL Live, Outside the Lines and Herd with Colin Cowherd on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to NFL Network’s Total Access.
Stroud becan covering the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the National Football League in 1990. Since then, the Bucs have undergone seven coaching changes, the death of owner Hugh Culverhouse and the sale of the franchise to billionaire owner Malcolm Glazer and a stadium referendum. They also celebrated a Super Bowl XXVII victory. His reporting was referenced in Tony Dungy’s best seller, Quiet Strength, particularly because it was Stroud who informed Dungy of the Bucs’ plan to replace him with Giants Super Bowl coach Bill Parcells.
A former Div. I-A baseball player at Arkansas , Stroud brings a unique perspective to sports reporting. During the NFL lockout in 2011, he also served as one of the Times’ beat writers responsible for covering the Tampa Bay Rays.
Former Buccaneers great and current president of the Tampa Bay Storm Derrick Brooks joined Tom Jones and Rick Stroud less than 12 hours after the Bucs officially announced that 16-season veteran Ronde Barber had retired.
Brooks played with Barber for 12 seasons (1997-2008), the longest span of any teammate of Barber's from the Super Bowl XXXVII team.
Like many of the players that shared a locker room with Barber, Brooks spoke highly of Barber's competitiveness and durability. When it came to having the defensive back as a teammate, Brooks enjoyed it thoroughly.
"It was fun to be quiet honest with you," Brooks said. "And to go through the work that we invested in this defense, playing in the nickel position, especially Cover-2, the isle as we said, perfecting our craft, being on the same page we had to, a lot of times, do that.
"That's the part that I guess is kind of hard to explain but yet brings some of the biggest joy when, I was thinking about it yesterday and even last night, just saying how we challenged each other to get better.
"The cerebral part of his game, I don't think people quite understood how smart of a player he was. And Ronde made a lot of big plays in big moments during his career and a lot of that came through [from] his preparation and his hard work.
"You think about the true ability and trust that he did as a football player. Even myself, playing a lot of games, and there was probably some situations where injury would not have allowed us to play, but the coaches trusted us to play through those injuries and with those injuries because we were able to make plays and there's no better example of anyone doing that than himself."
To listen to the entire conversation with Derrick Brooks, click the player below: