Wednesday in the Jaguars locker room, Matt Jones spent the first minute with the media acting like he didn’t know what we were talking about.
We were, of course, talking about the news that Jones would not go to court on cocaine charges, but instead would enter a pre-trial intervention program that could end in the charges against the Jaguars wide receiver being dropped.
I have to agree with the guys from Jaguars This Week who called it a missed opportunity for Jones.
This year, Jones has rededicated (or maybe just dedicated) himself to football. Since training camp, we’ve seen a different Matt Jones. He’s played with grit and determination, and he’s carved out a niche for himself as the Jaguars possession receiver and a guy who can convert on third down.
Its one of the stories that you love to see in sports. A talented college star, struggles as a pro, then the light goes on and suddenly, he find his game and becomes a contributor. We saw that last year to some extent with Reggie Williams, although he hasn’t been a factor so far this year.
It’s corporate talk and a little cliché, but you can look at it as a problem or an opportunity. If Jones had understood this, he wouldn’t have dodged so much.
I can envision an exchange with the media that starts with Jones telling the Jaguars public relations officials that he wants to make a statement. The media gathers. Jones begins.
“First, I want to thank the fans who have backed me all along, even when I wasn’t contributing as much on the field. It means a lot to me to have their support. I also want to thank my teammates and coaches, who have supported me all along. I can’t talk about specifics regarding the situation in Arkansas, I hope you can appreciate that and respect my obligations. I am trying to put all of that behind me. I have tried to improve myself as a player and as a man this year, and I’m doing everything I can to continue on that path. I’m happy to talk about football and this weekend’s big game in Denver…or the offense…or anything else on the field, but again, I can’t talk about the legal stuff.”
The reaction (mostly from fans) would be “Wow, he’s really getting things together. Good for him.”
But that’s not what happened. I’m certainly not about to make a prediction about the future of Jones on or off the field. But I can tell you that while he appears to have matured a bit, he still has plenty of road to travel.