Ricky Seals-Jones can now add Texas A&M alum to his title since completing his bachelor’s degree four years after he left school a semester shy of graduating to enter the NFL Draft.
Seals-Jones, a member of Sealy High School’s Class of 2013, told his parents Buffy and Chester that a condition of leaving college early was that he would go back and finish down the road. This past spring semester was that time down the road and last Friday he joined 12 current and former Texas A&M football players who received a degree.
"I always promised my parents that whether I stayed a full term at A&M or got a chance to leave early to go play ball at the next level, I was going to finish," Seals-Jones said in an interview with A&M Athletics. "There was no doubt in my mind I was going to finish, it was just how long it was going to take. It was only four years, so it's good to finally be able to say I'm an Aggie alum."
After playing two years for the Arizona Cardinals, Seals-Jones was waived and signed by the Cleveland Browns where he played last season before becoming a free agent. This past offseason, not only did he sign a deal to join the defending Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs, but he also put in the work in the online classroom to become a college graduate.
"It was very difficult," said Seals-Jones. "We obviously start our offseason training in the spring a little bit earlier than classes are done, so I'd come home after working out and take three hours to knock out this class or do an assignment. You've just got to put your mind to it, bear down and get it done. I really just wanted to graduate to show guys who do leave early, it's not the end of the world. You can still play NFL ball and go back to school and finish it. There is a little bit more on your plate, but I did it. I got it done."
Buffy Seals-Jones said in the same A&M Athletics story that she tried getting Ricky to get back to school but the NFL schedule was not friendly to the college course schedule and she eventually let it go. However, once Ricky did set up his re-enrollment, he tried to keep it a secret from his parents but his brother Jamal nearly spoiled it.
"One day, Jamal said, 'You know Ricky's going to graduate?'" Buffy Seals-Jones said. "I was like, 'No. Graduate from what?' He said, 'Oh, I don't know mamma.' I was like, 'What are you talking about?' He wouldn't tell me anything else, so I kind of like dismissed it."
Not long after the cat was nearly let out of the bag, Ricky got to reveal the surprise to his mother during a visit around Christmastime and Buffy said she burst into tears and couldn’t stop hugging and crying with excitement.
Jamal graduated from the University of Houston with a Bachelor of Arts in Communication in 2013 and now his mom is in a pickle with two college degrees but not quite enough room to display them both on the wall. It’s a happy problem to have, she said.
"I'll put it above Jamal's on the wall, and it'll be complete," Buffy Seals-Jones said of Ricky’s degree. "Both of my guys got their degrees, so I am ecstatic. … I don't know, though, Jamal might come in and put his on top of Ricky's. They won't fit side by side. Maybe we'll have to put one on each end of the armoire. It'll happen some way. Just as long as we get it."
Ricky Seals-Jones entered Texas A&M in 2013 as a sports management major and finished in 2020 as a university studies major with a concentration area of race, gender and ethnicity, and minors in sports management and tourism management.