Jacoby Jones was in the middle of his free agent visit with the New York Giants Wednesday when he had an epiphany.
“Honestly, when I was up in New York, I was walking around and I think I came to my senses really,” Jones said Thursday after signing a four-year contract with the Ravens that could be worth as much as $14 million. “It wasn’t about money. It was the fact that this is probably the one place that would let me be myself, the city, the state, the organization, the coaches. They knew I kind of don’t have it all up here [in the head]. There are some loose ends and they accept that.”
Jones, the play-making wide receiver and kick returner who has accounted for 10 touchdowns the past two seasons with the Ravens, acknowledged that he took less money to return to the the team. Asked how much he left on the table, he joked that he didn’t know because he wasn’t “good at math."
Wearing a hat that read, “I love Bmore,” Jones said he was in a car heading into New York City to have dinner with Giants’ officials when he called his agent and told him that he was going home. He then flew into Baltimore on Wednesday night.
“It’s just a great opportunity for us,” said Ravens coach John Harbaugh, who told Jones on the flight home following the Ravens’ final game last season that the team wanted to keep him in the organization. Jones credited Harbaugh for being a man of his word.
”Jacoby is a playmaker but he’s not just a playmaker,” Harbaugh said. “I think everybody understands what he brings to the table in terms of his ability to break open a game at any time. But he’s also a quality receiver. He’s a special teams player but he’s also a guy that can do the things that you need to do to move the chains when you need to move them. That’s something that he’s probably grown into over the last three or four years as a football player. Without question, we believe that his best football is in front of him.”
Jones missed four games last season because of a strained right knee sustained in the season-opening loss to the Denver Broncos. He finished the season with 37 catches for 455 yards and two touchdowns, while averaging 28.8 yards per kickoff return and 12.5 yards per punt return. He also added a punt return score.
He returns to what could be a formidable wide receiver group if the Ravens are able to add either Steve Smith or Julian Edelman to a core that already includes Jones, Torrey Smith and Marlon Brown.
Jones said he’s excited about the direction of the offense, citing the return of tight end Dennis Pitta and the improvement of the running game. Jones said that he’s seen running back Ray Rice and noted that Rice looks like he’s lost weight and “is ready to roll.”
Jones also couldn’t hide his excitement to be reunited with new Ravens offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who was his head coach during his time with the Houston Texans.
“I didn’t know my father so I really think that Kubiak is my biological father. We are going to have a DNA test to make sure,” Jones joked. “He always played that role. It’s funny cause we had a conversation one time … when I was a knucklehead. He told me, ‘When you slow down and mature, you have a chance to make a lot of money.’”
After two seasons with the Ravens where he became one of the heroes of their run to Super Bowl XLVII, Jones said that he has matured as a player.
“When I came in, I sat down with Coach John and he was like, ‘We want you to be you no matter what. Be yourself, play the game.’ And I was like, ‘I appreciate that.’ He lets you be a man,” Jones said. “Everything I’ve done, I just take it in stride. I definitely don’t take it for granted.”