Velus 'grinding' to stay ready, plans to be 'dynamic' upon return originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago
LAKE FOREST – Velus Jones Jr. had to watch the rest of the Bears' rookie class make their NFL debut Sunday while he watched from the sideline. Jones has dealt with a hamstring injury for the past month and could not play in Week 1 against the San Francisco 49ers.
Missing Week 1 didn't get Jones down, though. He's taking a big-picture view of how far he has come in his football life.
"Man, Sunday was an amazing day," Jones said Wednesday after he returned to practice in a limited capacity. "You know, just looking at my journey, how far it came, all the adversity it took to be here and be out there with my brothers, being a part of that, especially a big win at home, it's just amazing to be in the situation I am. I know a lot of people would kill to be in this situation. Just looking at all the positive things, being grateful, hyping my teammates up, making sure I was cheering them on, being involved in the game mentally, you know, just visualizing making plays and stuff when I heard the play call."
Jones has talked all offseason about visualizing success in the NFL when his moment comes. That hasn't changed. The Tennessee product, by way of USC, said his body feels good, and he is "hopeful" he can play Sunday when the Bears face the Green Bay Packers on Sunday night.
The Bears' offense needs what Jones can provide. He flashed his game-breaking speed early in training camp, and his field-stretching ability should help open up the Bears' passing game.
That's the vision, at least.
"Oh man, you know my mentality every time I touch the ball -- make a play," Jones said. "I'm looking to score every time the ball hits my hands. I'm really good with yards after catch and especially with yards after contact. That's why I'm pushing to make sure I'm as healthy as possible and so I can be that dynamic player I know I can be."
Most rookies would be frustrated by the in-and-out nature of Jones' training camp and preseason. He played in just one preseason game and missed two separate blocks of time with the same hamstring injury.
Jones admits the hamstring issue has been challenging both mentally and physically. While out, he has focused on being as prepared as possible for when he gets the all-clear to make his NFL debut.
"I only can control the things that I can control," Jones said. "Take it one day at a time. Sometimes it can be frustrating. I'm human. We all get frustrated when things don't go our way. But it's guys playing at the end of the day. Just focus on everything I can control one day at a time.
"I'm just staying on top of the playbook," Jones said. "Making sure I'm locked in mentally. Working on my mental health and my physical health. I'm grinding. Trying to nip that in the bud. Taking everything one day at a time."
There's no doubt the Bears could use Jones' speed and versatility Sunday in Green Bay. Making your Bears debut in Lambeau against the Packers? Not a bad consolation prize for missing Week 1.
"It would mean the world," Jones told NBC Sports Chicago of making his Bears debut against the Packers.
The Bears and Jones hope visualization becomes reality this weekend in Green Bay.
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