Set aside all of the drama about Julio Jones removing Falcons-related things from his social media and sitting out OTAs in hopes of securing a new contract. Jones is happy in Atlanta, according to a conversation he had with TMZ Sports over Memorial Day weekend.
Jones was asked about Falcons owner Arthur Blank’s comments that suggested Jones will remain with the Falcons throughout his NFL career.
“I love Julio. He loves me. He loves Atlanta. He’s going to be here forever,” Blank said during the NFL owners’ meetings in Atlanta, via Jay Clemons of 11 Alive Sports.
So is Jones going to be in Atlanta forever?
“Yeah, I am,” Jones told TMZ.
So that’s definitely a yes?
“Yeah. Yeah, we good,” Jones said.
As far as the contract negotiations, Jones didn’t have much of an update, but he did say it wasn’t even about that.
“Everybody wants a story right now. There’s no story to be told, you know what I mean?” Jones said.
“There’s no bad blood between me and the team or anything like that,” Jones went on to say.
And he’s not mad about the team drafting Calvin Ridley or anything, is he?
“I’m very excited. I’m very excited,” Jones said about his new teammate and fellow Bama alum. “There’s so much I can teach him. He’s a raw talent; very talented guy. But coming to the next level, it’s always good to have an older head guy in there to help you.”
Jones would know. His mentor as a rookie was former teammate Roddy White, whose reaction to the team trading up to draft Julio in the 2011 draft was very similar to Jones’ take on Ridley.
It’s been mildly entertaining to see folks refer to Jones as a diva since the contract rumors started swirling. He’s always been the opposite. Jones has an impeccable work ethic, an unwavering commitment to his teammates, and has always been a leader by example. His comments this weekend suggest that hasn’t changed a bit.
So just to be clear, is Julio saying he’s happy in Atlanta?
“I love the team, I love the organization, I love everybody there,” he said.
Well, that seems pretty clear. So let’s all take a collective deep breath and stop freaking out about Jones missing a few meaningless reps in shorts and a helmet and enjoy our long holiday weekend.