Edward Lee: The first time I approached Jacoby Jones during a minicamp in June to ask him about returning kicks and punts at M&T Bank Stadium -- the same place where, as a member of the Houston Texans, he had mishandled a punt in an AFC divisional-round playoff loss to the Ravens the season before -- he calmly answered my queries. The second time I asked him in August about how he tries to forget gaffes like that, he made it clear that he was no longer entertaining that line of questioning. That's all well and good, I thought, but the critics will come out in droves if he makes a similar mistake. Jones made sure they never got a chance. He earned his first Pro Bowl invitation after a regular season in which he returned two kickoffs for touchdowns and one punt for a score and led the NFL with a franchise-record 30.7-yard kick-return average. He continued his torrid streak in the postseason with a 70-yard connection with Flacco that sent the AFC divisional-round game against the Denver Broncos into overtime. (The Ravens would win, 38-35, in overtime.) And in the team's 34-31 win against the San Francisco 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII, he caught a 56-yard touchdown strike from Flacco in the second quarter and opened the third quarter with an NFL-record 108-yard kick return for a touchdown. Flacco was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player, but it's hard to see how the Ravens would have won their second Lombardi Trophy without Jones.
Baltimore Sun photo by Kenneth K. Lam