Tennessee Titans general manager Jon Robinson has never been one to shy away from talented players with durability issues.
Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, linebacker Bud Dupree and cornerback Caleb Farley are all proof of Robinson’s prioritization of talent above injury history.
So, when the Titans traded for wide receiver Julio Jones from the Atlanta Falcons, Robinson presumably didn’t give a second thought to Jones missing seven games last season with a hamstring isse. Neither did Jones.
“To the games last year, I had an issue that I didn’t take enough time to heal properly,” he said. “That was just my decision on going out there and playing. There are no excuses and things like that.”
Despite playing in just nine games, Jones would have led all Titans receivers in yards per game (85.7), and he would’ve ranked third in receptions and yards behind A.J. Brown and Corey Davis.
Prior to 2020, Jones had been a fairly durable player over the course of his career. He played in 14 or more games in six straight seasons from 2014-2019, averaging 103 receptions, 1,564 yards and six touchdowns per season over that span.
Jones has led the NFL in receiving yards twice (2015, 2018), receptions once (2015) and receiving yards per game three times (2015, 2016, 2018). In fact, his 95.5 receiving yards per game is the best in NFL history. His presence – along with Brown, Josh Reynolds and Derrick Henry -- gives Tennessee offensive multiplicity that it hasn’t had, maybe ever.
“I think (adding Jones) gives a lot of versatility to where we can line guys up and how we function as an offense,” Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. “I am unquestionably excited about having him.
“…Right now, we are trying to get him acclimated. He’s a productive player and a big target, strong hands and sure-handed. I’ve enjoyed his attitude and the interactions I’ve had with him about our football team and about his willingness to come in here and try to learn how we do things.”
Jones joined the Titans for the first time on Thursday during OTAs at Saint Thomas Sports Park. He ran some drills, caught some passes, and appeared to be fully healthy. The 32-year-old made sure that everyone knew he still has plenty left in the tank.
“I will be ready to go,” Jones said. “For those who question my health and things like that, just stay tuned.”
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