Don Jonas played football at Penn State (1958, 1960, 1961) where he was primarily a running back, but also played defense and returned punts and kickoffs. Jonas was drafted in the 13th round of the 1961 NFL draft by Philadelphia, but played only one game with the Eagles in 1962. Jonas played semi-pro football in 1963 for the Harrisburg Capitals of the Atlantic Coast Football league. When the team's Quarterback was injured, Jonas switched to Quarterback. From 1964 to 1969, Jonas played in the Continental Football League wit hthe Newark Bears and the Orlando Panthers. Orlando and Jonas won the Continental Football League champtionship twice in 1967 and 1968, and Jonas won the league MVP in three consecutive years from 1966 to 1968. In 1970, Jonas came to the CFL to join the Toronto Argonauts, sharing the QB duties with another former Continental Football League Quarterback in Tom Wilkinson. When Toronto signed an outstanding college Quarterback named Joe Theisman for 1971, Jonas was dispatched to Winnipeg to replace Wally Gabler, another former Toronto QB who the Bombers sent to Hamilton. Jonas threw for 4036 yards in his first season in Winnipeg with 27 touchdown passes. In that 1971 season, Jonas was named to both the West and CFL All-Steams, as well as being selected as the Outstanding Player in the CFL. Jonas had another excellent season in 1972, upping his completion percentage from 52.1 to 56.3% and throwing another 27 touchdown passes. While that completion percentage might not be great by today's standards, it was quite good for the time where Quarterbacks didn't throw as many of the short ball control patterns. In 1972, Jonas added his second West and CFL All-Stars. Time seemed to be catching up to Jonas in 1973 as his completion percentage dropped to 50% and his touchdown passes also dropped to 15, compared to almost twice as many interceptions with 29. Jonas was traded to Hamilton partway through the 1974 season as the teams swapped Quarterbacks with former rookie star Chuck Ealey coming west to the Bombers. One other interesting aspect of Jonas's career was that he was one of the last regular players who also did the placekicking, as teams in the early 1970s were transitioning to specialized placekickers. Jonas handled the placekicking for Toronto in his first season in 1970 and for Winnipeg for two and a half seasons. In 1970, Jonas finished second in the East in scoring with 100 points, second behind Tommy Joe Coffey of Hamilton. In 1971, Jonas led the West in scoring with 121 points. In 1972, boosted by 15 fieldgoals. In 1972, Jonas connected on 14 of 21 fieldgoals for a 66.7% success rate which again by today's standars is not very high, but it was the best percentage in the West and beat dedicated kickers like Dave Cutler (52.1%) and Ted Gerela (57.6%). The inevitable happened though in 1973 as the Bombers turned to a dedicated kicker in Walt McKee, though if you look at the stats, Jonas hit on 9 of 17 fieldgoals compared to only 9 of 22 for McKee.
Jonas had one punt return for zero yards with Winnipeg in 1974.