TAMPA, Fla. — Julio Jones said he never imagined teaming up with longtime NFC South Division rival in Tom Brady, but hopes of winning a championship now lie in Tampa Bay and the Buccaneers for the Atlanta Falcons legend.
“I never thought it could happen,” Jones said Wednesday. “But that’s the past. I am here now. I look forward, I don’t look back. This is a great opportunity for me to be part of something special in the Buccaneers family. I just can’t wait to get to work. »
Jones acknowledged the irony of joining forces with Brady, the quarterback who led the Patriots’ historic comeback from a 28-3 deficit to beat the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, Jones’ only appearance in the final.
“Why do we have to bring out old stuff? He did it. He did it. He did,” Jones joked before expressing his excitement. “It’s just a surreal moment. It’s incredible. At the end of the day, it’s a question of responsibility. I have to be responsible for him, for the team, for everyone, right? All that said and done, I still have to come to work. I always have to work. »
“You can say, ‘Oh yeah, Julio is with the Bucs, we have Mike [Evans], we have Tom,’ but we all have to work. Nobody is going to give us anything. So we just have to come here and work every day. »
As he has done many times during his career with free agents, Brady took the time to chat with Jones to express his desire to play alongside him.
“I spoke to him, I spoke to Tom several times. It wasn’t really about coming to Tampa. We were just communicating, probing each other, I guess. It was probably a tactic,” he joked, alluding to the Patriots’ and Brady’s penchant for operating in secrecy.
He added: “Tom is a great guy, the one you want to see at the helm of your club, who you want to play for. »
Jones said he is “100% healthy” and “feeling amazing” with no issues or lingering pains. He insisted he has nothing to prove to anyone and is not out to step on anyone’s toes.
“We need to replace Gronk’s catches. We have an extra edge, especially in the pay zone. We’re going to use it well,” Bucs head coach Todd Bowles said of Jones. It gives us a chance to be more creative with some of the things we’re trying to achieve. We are happy to have it. »
Jones appeared in 10 regular season games with the Titans last year. He previously played for ten seasons with the Atlanta Falcons, who selected him 6th overall in the 2011 draft.
Jones has 13,330 receiving yards since joining the Goodell circuit. He was invited to the Pro Bowl seven times, including six consecutive times, between 2014 and 2019.
His best harvest in a single year came in 2015, when he totaled 1,871 aerial yards.