Green Bay Packers' James Jones Donates Cash, Helmets to Gunderson High in San Jose

After hearing Gunderson High School's football team was in need of equipment, a Green Bay Packers player's wife asked the coach if he needed any financial assistance.

Thanks, but no thanks, is what Coach Steve Papin told the wife of Packers receiver James Jones, who played for Gunderson almost 10 years ago and regularly contributes cash and equipment to his alma mater.

In fact, just as classes at the San Jose school began this fall, Papin had received his regular check from Jones -- enough to buy the team 15 helmets, and then some.

It's not that the extra offer for help wasn't appreciated, Papin told NBC Bay Area on Thursday. It's just that the problem of having a helmet and shoulder pad equipment shortage isn't one of need - it's one of abundance.

"I just don't want to make this about a lack of money, because it isn't," Papin said.

Gunderson High's football quandary this year is that there are a larger than expected football turnout on both the varsity and junior varsity teams: A total of 100 players signed up, compared to last year's number of 70.

The school has had a close relationship with Jones -- even retiring his No. 3 jersey just last year.

Jones is a big-time donor to Gunderson, and other children, too. His website,, describes how his nonprofit foundation helps children in his new home of Green Bay, Wisc., and where he came from in San Jose, where Jones also played for San Jose State University.

Even with Jones'  annual contribution, the team is short on shoulder pads and jerseys. Parents raised some money Wednesday night, and are planning a car wash on Sept. 28 at 9 a.m. at a senior complex at the corner of Branham Lane and Buena Vista in San Jose.

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