What was once considered a "long shot" is now reality. Julio Jones is a member of the Tennessee Titans, and he took part in his first practice with his new team on Thursday. Donning his new No. 2 jersey, Jones excited onlookers with his quick feet, quick cuts and strong hands.
The seven-time Pro Bowler's arrival in Tennessee brings heightened expectations for a Titans team that is eager to compete for a Super Bowl right now. Jones said he latched onto this energy in practice and that the environment even reminded him a little bit of his days at the University of Alabama, where he won a national championship in 2009.
"Being here with the Titans, I love it, I'm very excited to be part of this organization," Jones told reporters following practice. "Just the team camaraderie, just the whole atmosphere and everything here feels like when I was in college at the University of Alabama. It's amazing here."
Adding Jones to the mix for the Titans on offense is just icing on the cake, as this unit finished No. 3 in the NFL last year in total yards of offense per game and fourth in points per game. Tennessee has the reigning rushing champion in Derrick Henry, a true No. 1 wide receiver in 23-year-old A.J. Brown and quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who made the Pro Bowl in 2019 after being inserted into the starting lineup midseason. Jones says he doesn't anticipate getting on the same page with his new quarterback will take much time, and revealed that the two have already had dinner together.
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"Me and Ryan, we hung out already and went out to dinner," said Jones. "Just talking and communication. But I don't think it's going to take no time at all, I mean he's a different player, I'm a different player. We just gotta go out there and it's just repetition at the end of the day."
Brown was absolutely relentless in his attempt to lure Jones to Tennessee this offseason, and the former Atlanta Falcons star said that he was very appreciative of all the posts on social media. Jones also said that it's a dream to be playing alongside Brown, who he appreciates as much as he does him.
"It's just who he is," said Jones. "Just a great guy. And he's going to be a great teammate as well. His respect that he has for me -- just like we said in our previous conversations even before the trade came about -- just us communicating, me helping him out, and now just being under one roof, being on the same team with one another is just like ... part of the dream. What he don't know is that I love to play with him as well. It's definitely mutual in that sense."
While the addition of Jones is exciting for Titans fans, he is a 32-year-old wideout who played in just nine games last season. It's not a sure thing that he will come in and take this team to Super Bowl LVI. For those questioning how much tread Jones has left on the tires, he urges doubters to just watch him in 2021.
"At the end of the day, I believe in me," said Jones. "I know what I have in the tank. And we talking about age is 32. I'm young. In football, you can say it's old, but you either do it or don't. This game don't change for me. I'm still fast and still strong.
"For those questioning my health and things like that, just stay tuned."