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Julio Jones said he plans to play Sunday, but ambiguity remains about his status

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Fans hoping for a new contract or reassurance may not want to read further.

NFL: Preseason-New York Jets at Atlanta Falcons Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons front office has said repeatedly that a new deal with Julio Jones was “right around the corner.” The team promised him last year that they would work out a new deal in 2019, and as of today, that still hasn’t happened.

That’s why today’s media availability with Julio Jones was so important. When asked if he would commit to playing on Sunday against the Vikings, the All-Pro wide receiver was extremely non-committal, fueling speculation that he could hold out in the critical first game of the season if he doesn’t get a new deal soon. He did walk that back somewhat minutes later, but it is important to note that there was no firm commitment either way.

This signals further urgency in getting a deal done, though it is not entirely unexpected. While most of us believe a new deal will eventually get done, this now puts a firm time frame on closing the negotiations before there’s potential for Julio to sit out. He did try to make it clear that injury would be a factor if he didn’t play rather than contract, for what that’s worth, noting he was sore from working out on the turf indoors.

Obviously, the Falcons offense needs Julio on the field, particularly against a stout Vikings defense. If he sits, one has to think the chances for Atlanta to win drop dramatically.

A transcript of what he said regarding his status for Sunday can be found here:

As always, we’ll be keeping an eye on the contract negotiations as they develop, and hope that a resolution is just around the corner for real this time. Hopefully, we’ll have some good news to celebrate before the first snap in Minnesota on Sunday afternoon.