This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2011, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
For years, the Boones never had a furnace. Wood stoves were the only heat at the family's home in Flowell, five miles outside of Fillmore.
That meant the Boone brothers Aaron, Jesse and Jason would chop and haul wood all summer, then throughout the winter bring it in so the family would have heat. It was exhausting and dull, but it made them strong.
Maybe there was something to hauling all that firewood. All three Boone brothers went on to play professional football. Jesse plays for Las Vegas in the United Football League, while Aaron and Jason both wound up right back at home playing for the Utah Blaze.
Aaron will go down as perhaps the best player in franchise history, piling up 5,202 receiving yards and 122 touchdown catches during his arena football career. Jason has settled into a less visible, but important role: a stalwart on the offensive line who occasionally gets open for a touchdown pass.
But perhaps more defining than anything they've done on the field, the Boones are personable, grounded and always willing to take time out for fans. Whether it was hauling logs in their backyard or something else less tangible, the Boones credit their small-town roots for keeping them firmly planted, no matter where they have been in their careers.
"I think the best thing we ever learned was work will win when wishing won't," Aaron says. "I think it's why we've all had the careers we've had. We don't expect anything, and we put our heads down and just go out there."
The Boone children all 10 of them moved to Fillmore with their mother in 1992, following their parents' divorce. But the football seeds had been planted deep in the brothers: Their father, Coley Boone, played tackle at BYU.
At Millard, football was hard work. But it still wasn't as tough or dull as working on a family farm for most of the kids, so the Boones quickly learned to develop work ethic.
"There were players who were just as good or better than they were, but those brothers always seemed to be football-focused," says Marshall Sheriff, who coached the trio at Millard High School. "I think they were taught to be self-reliant. They weren't given everything they wanted they were expected to go out and get it."
Money was tight for the family, so the kids went to work. Aaron was the oldest brother living at home at the time, and he started working graveyard shifts at the local Chevron station even during the season. A few nights a week, he'd go to work at 10 p.m., stay at the station until 6 a.m., sleep, go to school, go to practice, then sleep again before work.
To stay up some nights, the onetime quarterback would practice his footwork and go through his playbook. He'd set up garbage cans to be his receivers or running backs, then would act out game situations all at 2 a.m. with no one but himself for company.
In 1995, Aaron's senior year, Millard won a state title.
"I don't know whether I played at night to stay awake or get better maybe both," Aaron says. "But a state championship is something you don't forget. When I went to my 15th high school reunion, it was all we talked about."
Jason is six years younger than Aaron and remembers him more like a second father than a brother. But Jason was a water boy when the Eagles won it all. After the games, he'd play with his friends, who also had brothers on the team, and he'd pretend to be Aaron at the helm, leading Millard to a championship.
As he grew, Jason found out he was destined to be a lineman, like his brother Jesse. By that time, Jesse had grown into a college prospect who would go on to the University of Utah, while Aaron had parlayed a stint at Snow College into a scholarship at Kentucky.
Being the little brother to two college-bound footballers in a small town was tough at times. When he was a sophomore, he told two classmates he would play college football, and they each bet him a steak dinner that he wouldn't.
He didn't start until midway through his junior year, and it took him more time to fill out. But in his senior year, he was a key cog on another Millard championship team.
"When you spend an hour minimum on the bus going each way, you're going to get to know every story about every kid on that bus," Jason says. "I guess it has made me want to make the pros kind of like high school. You're out there with some guys sweating and bleeding together, you want to be closer."
The Boones' football careers took them different places. Aaron went on to join three NFL teams, but mostly played in NFL Europe, putting up big numbers far away from home. Jason and Jesse started on the offensive line for the Utes, and both protected Alex Smith during the undefeated 2004 season. Jason also briefly joined the New Orleans Saints.
Aaron eventually latched on to the AFL, playing in Philadelphia and Kansas City before being brought home. Jesse Boone saw some action with the Blaze, but moved on to the UFL after the original Arena Football League dissolved.
Jason found an opportunity to join the Blaze after a stint in the Canadian Football League. And he admits it was a little strange joining the organization he still calls "Aaron's team," but says it's given him time to get to know his older brother a little better.
"When he scores a touchdown, I definitely run a little faster to try to be the first one to celebrate with him," Jason says. "It's definitely a cool moment. Not many people can say they played pro football with their brother."
In fact, all the brothers live close to each other: Jesse and Aaron live in Sandy, while Jason lives in West Jordan. Jonathan, the oldest Boone sibling, lives in Provo, and the group gets together often for barbecues at one another's houses.
All of the football-playing brothers are nearing the end of their careers: Jason has said this will be his last pro season, while Aaron, 33, has started thinking about hanging it up after a season-ending knee injury this year. But football will always remain a part of their life: They started a camp this year in Fillmore that the Boones run themselves. It's their way of giving back to a sport and a community that gave them careers.
"The chances of three brothers playing professional football are pretty amazing," Aaron Boone says. "Somehow, when we were growing up, we got it somewhere in our minds that we could do it. It just shows you that you have to dream big, and you can do just about whatever you want."
From Fillmore to Salt Lake City
• QB for the 1995 Millard title team
• All-American wideout at Snow; led Kentucky in TD receptions as a senior
• Signed with the Dallas Cowboys, Chicago Bears and Carolina Panthers, and won a World Bowl in NFL Europe with the Berlin Thunder
• Blaze franchise leader in touchdown receptions and yardage
• Only Blaze player still with the team from the pre-2009 era
• Defensive and offensive lineman for the 2001 Millard title team
• Started on offensive line for Utah, and played during the 2004 undefeated season
• Signed by the New Orleans Saints, UFL's Las Vegas Locos and CFL's BC Lions
• Spent past two seasons with the Blaze, and has caught five touchdowns this season