August 17, 2009
Just days after one NFL team gave out the ultimate second chance, another former high draft pick is working out and wondering when he'll get his.
That would be former Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Matt Jones, who David Quinones of the Miami Herald caught up with this weekend. Jones has spent $20,000 at the IMG training academy -- not the first expensive habit Jones has had -- to help get his body and his mind right for the 2009 season. That is, if anyone will give him a job.
It's a phone call I'd have thought Jones would've gotten by now. He caught 65 balls in just 12 games for a team that was not gifted in the area of passing. His 65 catches led the team, despite the fact that he only played 75 percent of the season for the Jags. That's production. Those are the numbers of a quality player; a player on the rise.
The character questions continue to bite him, though. As you probably know, Jones was arrested on a charge of cocaine possession in July of 2008, and then violated the terms of his probation by testing positive for alcohol.
After that, the Jags released him. He hasn't gotten a nibble from another team yet, but he's working hard to stay ready. From the Herald:
The [IMG] facility's staff has brought in 15 NFL players, including Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie(notes) and Fabian Washington(notes), to help Jones simulate the camp time he is missing. When the academy hosted 20 NBA draftees, Jones stepped onto the hardwood and fit right in. Between trying to sell his Jacksonville home and workouts with former Super Bowl receiver Ricky Proehl(notes), Jones is trying to focus on his game during a time when other players prepare with two-a-days.
"It's close. We're out running and doing routes from 10:30 [a.m.] to 2:30 in the heat,'' Jones said. "But nothing is camp.''
Surely, someone could use him. It's not hard to think of teams who need help at the receiver position, and it's not hard to think of guys in the NFL who have done worse than Jones. Some team would be wise to embrace this season of second chances and give Jones a call.
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