Julio Jones laughed as he glanced at the video of himself running cones barefoot in the sand while simultaneously catching tennis balls.
“Well, he’s about winning, No. 1,” quarterback Matt Ryan said of Jones. “That’s been the case from the moment he stepped into this building. … He’s just wired that way as a person. But he also wants it, too. He wants the ball, too, and that’s what you want from those guys. Even with double coverage, he feels like he can make plays and wants and is aggressive in that respect.”
Jones shook his head about the offseason chatter of the outspoken Owens being a negative influence on him, an assumption tied to Jones having a contract issue before re-joining the team for training camp. The Falcons eventually adjusted Jones’ 2018 salary to give him a $2.9 million boost and promised to renegotiate his deal next year, with two years and more than $21 million remaining.nike nfl jerseys cheap paypal
“T.O.’s work ethic, everything about him, what he stands for … he was a pro for so long,” Jones said. “He played into his mid-30s. And just his regimen, it’s always good to learn and keep bettering yourself.”
So Jones and Owens worked, and worked and worked. Their workout sessions started around 8 a.m. and typically consumed most of the day. They connected everywhere from the University of Alabama, where Jones starred in college, to Georgia’s Johns Creek High School, where Jones’ good friend and former Falcons teammate, Roddy White, is an assistant coach.
“We didn’t talk about business at all when we were together,” Jones said of his discussions with Owens. “We were just man to man, player to player, trying to get better. We were just working. We never talked about anything with contract or whatever we had going on. Not one time. He didn’t feel like it was the place to tell me, and I didn’t feel like I needed to talk to him about it. We were just grinding.”
Teammates noticed the hard work Jones put in despite him being away during the Falcons’ voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp. Ryan saw the results of Jones’ grind up close when he brought a group of Falcons out to California in July to throw with Jones.cheap nike nfl jerseys wholesale
“He was in great shape,” Ryan recalled. “That’s probably the first thing that jumps out. He was in really good condition; was able to run, go, all through the workouts at top speeds. I’ve probably been around him so much that I’m used to seeing how great he is at everything he does.”