TAMPA, Fla. — Julio Jones mentioned he by no means imagined becoming a member of forces with a longtime NFC South division rival within the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and taking part in with Tom Brady.
But that is the place life has taken Jones on his quest to win a championship — one of many few prizes that has eluded the longer term Hall of Fame vast receiver who spent final season with the Tennessee Titans after a decade with the Atlanta Falcons.
“I did not, I did not assume that,” Jones mentioned Wednesday. “But that is the previous. I’m right here now. I’m trying ahead, I’m not trying backwards. It’s an excellent alternative for me to be part of one thing particular within the Buccaneer household. Just trying ahead to getting to work .”
Jones acknowledged the irony of becoming a member of forces with Brady. The quarterback led the Patriots’ historic comeback from a 28-3 deficit to defeat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, which was Jones’ solely Super Bowl look.
But Jones, a seven-time Pro Bowler who has twice led the league in receiving yards, mentioned he wished one of the best alternative to win a hoop.
“Why did we get to carry up previous stuff? He did it. He did it. He did it,” Jones joked earlier than conveying his excitement. “It’s only a surreal second. It’s superb. I’m prepared to go, although. At the tip of the day, it is all about accountability. I’ve to be accountable for him, the workforce, all people, proper? With all that mentioned and executed, I’ve nonetheless acquired to come to work.
“You can say, ‘Oh yeah, Julio’s with the Bucs, we acquired Mike [Evans], we acquired Tom,’ however we have all acquired to put the work in. Nobody’s going to give us something. So we have simply acquired to come out right here and work each day. That’s all it is about.”
As Brady has executed with a number of free agent pickups, together with Jones’ former Falcons teammate Russell Gage and most lately tight finish Kyle Rudolph, he phoned Jones and expressed his need for them to play collectively after Jones was launched by the Titans in March.
Jones joked with Brady, “Y’all acquired house down there?” But they stayed in contact.
“I talked to him, I talked to Tom a number of occasions. It wasn’t actually about coming to Tampa. We have been simply speaking, feeling one another out, I assume. It was in all probability a tactic,” he joked, alluding to the Patriots ‘ and Brady’s penchant for working in secrecy. “But I’m right here now.”
He added: “Tom’s an excellent man, man — who you need to be main your ballclub, who you need to play for.”
Jones mentioned he’s “100% wholesome” and “feels superb” with no lingering points or ache. He emphasised he does not have something to show to anybody and is not right here to step on any toes — a nod to an already crowded receiver room that features Evans and fellow Pro Bowler Chris Godwin, who’s getting back from an ACL damage , and Gage.
In reality, the camaraderie of the Bucs receivers and the best way Evans and Godwin have carried themselves off the sphere performed a giant function in bringing Jones to Tampa.
Jones noticed motion in 10 regular-season video games and one postseason sport with the Titans final yr. His 434 receiving yards within the common season have been the bottom of his profession, as was his lone landing catch, however he struggled with a hamstring damage virtually your complete season. Jones additionally contributed six catches for 62 receiving yards within the Titans’ 19-16 loss within the divisional spherical of the playoffs.
“For me, I’m by no means annoyed. It’s all about studying curves, proper? So I all the time be taught via every thing I’m going via in life, as a result of I management myself,” Jones mentioned. “I management my feelings. I management every thing. I do not let another person management who I’m or how I view issues.
“People may say, ‘OK, you were not profitable on this.’ But for me, I do know what success is for me. I am unable to let another person choose who Julio is. But I did have some nicks and knacks right here and there. I by no means look backwards. It’s all in regards to the current. And for me proper now, I really feel nice, I really feel superb. I’ve simply acquired to keep that means. … Just come out right here and be who I’m — I do not want to be anyone else however that.”
In an interview with WDAE Radio, Jones mentioned that the Bucs have been within the image all alongside, including that he additionally considered taking part in with the Packers and Aaron Rodgers. The Colts and Saints have been additionally , however Jones wished one of the best alternative to win a championship.
“He’s nonetheless an excellent soccer participant,” Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles mentioned. “We’ve acquired to change Gronk’s catches. We’ve acquired an additional weapon, particularly within the crimson zone, out within the open discipline, we’ll put him to use. It offers us an opportunity to be extra inventive in among the issues we do. We’re completely satisfied to have him.”