Julio Jones is headed to the Titans, and while I understand why it happened and the compensation and the need to not dwell on this forever given that Falcons football is around the corner, it’s going to take a very long time to get used to the idea of #11 suiting up for anyone else.
Maybe you’re more than ready to move on after months of rumors, which I understand, but almost everyone had a reaction somewhere on the “thank goodness that’s over” to “noooooo” spectrum, and we’ve rounded up some of those here.
The trade hit earlier today, and we learned the Falcons got a 2nd in 2022 and a 2023 4th round pick in exchange for Julio and a 6th rounder in 2023.
Full terms:— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) June 6, 2021
The #Falcons get a 2022 2nd round pick and Atlanta gets the titans 4 in 2023 and they give back their 6 in 2023.
The Titans get Julio Jones.
Arthur Blank, the Falcons owner who once spoke of Julio Jones being “a Falcon for life” and is probably pretty downbeat about how this all went, released a statement thanking Jones for everything he did in Atlanta.
“Julio Jones will always be part of the Falcons story, having set numerous records and creating many great memories for all our fans, including me, since the day we drafted him. He has been a fixture on our team for almost half the time I have owned the Falcons. As we both move in another direction, I’m deeply grateful for what Julio has done for our team and what he has meant to our city and, in my mind, he will always be part of the Falcons family. I wish him nothing but the best in Tennessee and throughout his life.”
The Falcons have been preparing for this day for quite some time, obviously.
Because of you, 11 will always mean more. pic.twitter.com/SJQaT4URNX— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) June 6, 2021
Obviously, we heard from some of Julio’s teammates who loved the man, including the man who spent the past decade throwing him passes.
Matt Ryan’s farewell message to his WR1. Nothing but class from QB1. pic.twitter.com/WeQvlICXI9— Matt Karoly (@mattkaroly) June 6, 2021
Julio gets this kind of praise on the way out because of everything he accomplished, but his quiet public persona and sometimes superhuman feats on the field also made him seem somewhat mythical. It’s been that way forever.
Julio Jones is one of those rare athletes that's always lived up to impossible hype. High school games on ESPN. Helped revive Alabama football. The Falcons moved from 27 to 6 in 2011 and didn't regret it.— Robert Mays (@robertmays) June 6, 2021
I wrote about it in 2016, and this quote always stuck with me: pic.twitter.com/i0XqpEYjiX
Fans and Falcons analysts who are also fans reacted in a variety of ways, as I mentioned above, from acceptance to extreme sadness.
Here’s my opinion which has been my opinion: the #Falcons are a worse team without Julio. But if there was no way to resolve this for both parties and this is the best offer the #Falcons received, then so be it. It is what it is.— Aaron Freeman (@falcfans) June 6, 2021
im sadder now than i was after the super bowl. that was the last athlete i’d consider throwing hands over and they just traded him— charles (crying online) mcdonald (@FourVerts) June 6, 2021
I really am fine. No one got sent to federal prison or fled to Arkansas.— Steven Godfrey (@38Godfrey) June 6, 2021
At least one reporter could not believe the team’s timing. As someone who did not have cell phone reception until two hours after the trade was announced and is very thankful for The Falcoholic team, I sympathize.
NOT ME BOARDING THE **expletive* PLANE AS WE SPEAK.— Tori McElhaney (@tori_mcelhaney) June 6, 2021
I literally hate the Falcons. https://t.co/Jc2AQS1Gst
Former Falcons and Titans receiver Harry Douglas reminded fans to thank Julio for his decade of work in Atlanta, as well, and said he though the trade was a fair one for both sides.
FALCONS FANS: It’s ok to THANK @juliojones_11 for everything he’s done for the city & the organization...Let’s not forget to show APPRECIATION & give credit where credit is due— Harry Douglas (@HDouglas83) June 6, 2021
Yeah, we wonder the same thing, Deion Sanders. We wonder the same thing.
Lawd JESUS @juliojones_11 is gone! This makes me wonder how and why have most of the dominant @AtlantaFalcons players seem to not finish their careers with the @AtlantaFalcons when it’s truly a wonderful organization and a incredible city to play in. I’m still hurt. #CoachPrime— COACH PRIME (@DeionSanders) June 6, 2021
Also a bunch of Titans players are thrilled Julio’s going there, though we doubt anyone is more excited than Tannehill. It is still very weird to me that the Falcons poached Arthur Smith from Atlanta and will get back Julio, and as much as I love Jones, I’m definitely hoping Atlanta’s acquisition works out far better than Tennessee’s. We’re a ways away from knowing whether that’s the case, obviously.
We’ll need a little bit—or maybe a lot longer than that—before we’re completely ready to closer this chapter of Falcons history. We’re all hoping that in the months and years ahead, Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts will kick off a new era that coincides with the one thing the Falcons unfortunately never got while Julio was here: That long overdue Lombardi Trophy.