Falcons receiver Julio Jones previously ruled out a training-camp holdout because, as he explained it, team owner Arthur Blank had promised to give Jones a new contract. But Jones has yet to get that contract. He’ll still show up for training camp on Sunday.
Adam Schefter of ESPN.com reports that “Jones will be there, despite not receiving the contract extension he wanted.”
Last year, Jones had decided to hold out of training camp, but then a minor tweaking of his deal got Jones to report. This year, a holdout was never really on the table — possibly because Jones realized in 2018 that he’s just not wired to go through with it.
And that’s fine, if that’s who he is. Not every player is willing to start down the path of skipping football because players want to play football, and some want to play football so well that they don’t want to miss any of the preseason preparation, for any reason. Likewise, not every player is willing to risk alienating fans who have no qualms about a team playing hardball with a player but who instantly get #triggered when a player plays hardball with his team. Wrong as that mindset may be, that’s the mindset that many fans have, and any player that takes a stand needs to realize that withholding services from the team means withholding services from the fans, from the perspective of plenty of fans.
Whatever the reason(s), Jones has decided that he doesn’t want a contract extension badly enough to skip training camp, and possibly beyond. Despite his stated faith in Arthur Blank to do what Jones believes to be the right thing, it’s fair for Jones to wonder why something hasn’t already been done — especially in a week that saw the Falcons do bang-bang deals with Grady Jarrett and Deion Jones — and it’s fair to wonder whether Jones may decide to have a last-minute change of heart.