San Francisco 49ers defensive lineman D.J. Jones proposed to his girlfriend Kayla Fannin on the sideline before tonight’s game pic.twitter.com/psxNZXDwrH
— Bay Area Sports HQ (@BayAreaSportsHQ) October 7, 2019
In the span of six hours, D.J. Jones got engaged in front of his family on the grass of Levi’s Stadium, and was part of a Monday Night Football win that validated the legitimacy of the 49ers now 4-0 start to the NFL season. Where does such a day rank in Jones’ life?
“Man, top three,” Jones said. “Getting drafted was up there, but it’s probably number two.”
So, the third-best day was…
“Who knows?” Jones said.
Jones implied today was the best of his life, though that was a tough statement to make while still basking in the success of it. He initially had a hard time identifying whether the engagement or the primetime, 4-0 win ranked higher, before nodding to the engagement.
The third-year nose tackle out of Ole Miss said he and his girlfriend—now fiancee—Kayla Fannin have been together for more than two years, after meeting through Jones’ sister, and the proposal was in the works for months; for the logistical purpose of locking down the sideline before a game, if nothing else.
Jones said his and Fannin’s “entire” families were on the sideline, as you can see in the video above. The pretense of the get-together was a family photo, coordinated with the assist from the 49ers’ director of player engagement, Austin Moss.
Moss told KNBR that initially, Jones had considered doing the proposal after the game. After some discussion, Moss and Jones decided that popping the question prior to kickoff would make far more sense. Moss put the plan into motion, bringing everyone—Jones and Fannin alike—into the 49ers’ family room for a family photo, and then out to the sideline, leaving the rest to Jones.
The key to the execution was a little misdirection by Jones. He pointed, turning Fannin around, before he slyly dropped to one knee. As he put it, “I wasn’t pointing at nothing.”
“I think she asked, ‘Why are we here?'” Jones said. “And I was like, ‘You don’t know why we’re here?’ And I pointed over her shoulder and she just turned and I popped down. It was pretty cool.”
Yes, Jones admitted he thought about the prospect of losing after being engaged, but refocused quickly on his game preparation.
“That was a thought,” Jones said. “I knew we had to win. I knew I just had to play my game as well, though. I wasn’t stressing about it. I wasn’t putting any added pressure on myself, but I’m glad we did get the W. Thank the lord above.”