Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan said last week that he anticipates Jones will participate in Ryan's annual passing camp in July, D. Orlando Ledbetter The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports. "There's probably about 12 [Falcons players] that are going to get together...and [Jones] will certainly be a part of that."
Any assurances of Jones' return to team activities must be taken with a grain of salt at this point. Already having missed OTAs and minicamp, the star receiver invalidated head coach Dan Quinn's statements in March, when Quinn proclaimed that Jones would be in attendance for all offseason workouts. It would certainly be beneficial for Jones to take some reps with Matt Ryan to build chemistry heading into the training camp while brushing up on new wrinkles to offensive coordinator Steve Sarkisian's game plans.
Jones is no longer attending Atlanta's mandatory minicamp, the Falcons' official website reports. "We have been in contact with Julio and his representation," Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff said. "We will not discuss those conversations publicly except to say we feel they have been productive and constructive. We understand the concerns and thoughts from their perspective. Although not ideal, Julio informed us today he would not be attending mini-camp."
While Jones has previously stated there is no ill will between himself and the Falcons organization, it appears he'll hold out of the team's mandatory minicamp in what is likely an attempt to secure a new contract. It sounds as if the two sides continue to stay in contact, but when (or if) a new deal will be completed in the near future is unclear. Look for additional updates to be provided over the next month or so as the Falcons get ready for the start of training camp on July 26.
Jones indicated earlier this week that he intends to be present for the Falcons' mandatory minicamp from June 12 to 14, Vaughn McClure of ESPN.com reports. "Everybody wants a story right now. There's no story to be told," Jones said in an interview with TMZ. "I'm not going anywhere...I love the organization. I love everybody there. We're good."
Though there have been murmurs that Jones may be seeking a new contract with the Falcons, it doesn't sound like his absence from OTAs last week was a result of any dissatisfaction with management. Jones has been keeping himself in shape by working out at his alma mater (Alabama) with former NFL receiver Terrell Owens and once again projects as the clear top target in an Atlanta passing attack that added first-round pick Calvin Ridley to its ranks earlier this offseason. With at least 80 receptions and 1,400 receiving yards in each of the past four seasons, the 29-year-old Jones represents a strong building block in the first two rounds of fantasy drafts.
Coach Dan Quinn indicated that he had been in touch with Jones this offseason, so the star wideout's absence from OTAs wasn't much of a surprise to him. The storyline doesn't have much meat on the bones, however, as voluntary OTAs are frequently skipped by established players. An absence from minicamp would be more notable, but that's not anticipated at this juncture.
Jones was not present for the first session of OTAs on Monday, D. Orlando Ledbetter of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
This was somewhat expected after reports surfaced that Jones wanted "updated" terms in his current contract. Jones is healthy and has reportedly been working out away from the team, unlike last offseason when he was coming off foot surgery. It's not entirely uncommon for established veterans to skip voluntary OTAs, but if Jones is still out when minicamp kicks off June 12, there will be more significance to his absence.
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