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Ravens: Jacoby Jones: 'I got a breath of fresh air'

OWINGS MILLS - Newly-minted Baltimore Ravens wide receiver and kick returner Jacoby Jones can't wait to hit the field.

Signed to a two-year, $7 million contract, Jones wants to justify the Ravens' investment and contribute immediately on special teams and compete for the third wide receiver job.

"I got a new breath of fresh air," Jones told the Times in a telephone interview. "It's a great opportunity. Everything happens for a reason. I'm here, I'm a Raven now."

A former third-round draft pick, Jones was cut by the Houston Texans after they drafted receivers DeVier Posey and Keshawn Martin.

Jones fumbled twice during the Ravens' AFC divisional playoff win over the Texans with one miscue leading to a Baltimore touchdown.

"Houston is a great organization, they gave me a chance," Jones said. "Things happened. It's a business. What happened is in the past."

The Ravens had been looking for an experienced returner since last season, meeting with San Francisco 49ers return specialist Ted Ginn Jr. during free agency. He decided to stay with the 49ers, though.

Jones has averaged 10.2 yards per punt return with three touchdowns. He has a career 23.3 yard average on kickoff returns with one score.

Last season, the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder averaged 10.6 yards per punt return with a 79-yard touchdown. He didn't return kickoffs last year.

"As a returner, it's not about what I do," Jones said. "It's the way I play, catch me if you can. If not, I'm gone. Other than that, I'm working to become a top receiver in the NFL."

The Ravens have two established starting wide receivers in Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith, but need a third receiver.

Jones is slated to compete for the third receiver job with Tandon Doss, Reed, LaQuan Williams and rookie Tommy Streeter.

The former Lane College standout caught 31 passes for 512 yards and two touchdowns last season.

For his career, Jones has 127 receptions for 1,741 yards and 11 touchdowns.

"I got to come in and work like everybody else," Jones said. "Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith are great athletes. Like they say, iron sharpens iron. I want to come in and be a team player. That's what I am. I'm going to work hard and be dedicated and get jewelry, a Super Bowl ring."

Jones visited the Carolina Panthers before meeting with the Ravens earlier this week.

Now, he joins a pair of former Texans teammates in fullback Vonta Leach and strong safety Bernard Pollard with the defending AFC North champions.

"Vonta and Bernard called me when they found out I was visiting and Vonta said, 'We need you, that's it,' and hung up the phone," Jones said. "As soon as I walked in the door, the vibe in the whole building is one unit. The first person I saw was Bernard and then coach John Harbaugh. I'm glad to be in the black and purple."

Reach staff writer Aaron Wilson at 410-857-7896 or sports@carrollcountytimes.com.

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