The Ravens’ 27-year-old defensive tackle dealt with a heart condition over the past three weeks, but is now back on the football field. He says he feels “great,” but Jones was scared and is still confused by what happened.
Playing professional football will get the heart pumping. But when the heart doesn’t stop racing after the game, there’s concern.
That’s what happened to Jones. He said he “just wasn’t feeling right” after the Ravens’ third preseason game on Aug. 22.
“My heart was kind of racing,” Jones said in his first interview with reporters since that night.
“I just didn’t know why. It wasn’t settling down after the game. I went to the hospital and they ran a bunch of tests on me. I felt like a lab rat for a few weeks.”
There was a lot of confusion around Jones’ condition, and it seems there still is.
There were reports that Jones had a viral infection that produced fluid near his heart. The illness reportedly depleted his immune system, according to CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora.
But Jones said Thursday that doctors ruled out it being a virus. They also said it wasn’t a heart attack. He said he has no idea what caused his heartbeat to change.
“They didn’t really know what it was,” Jones said. “It was just some weird, freaky accident that just happened. I have no idea.”
Jones has some troubling family medical history. His older sister, Carmen, died of cancer when Jones was 17 years old. His mother, Camille, has battled diabetes that caused blindness.
“With the medical conditions in my family, it was definitely scary,” Jones said.
“It’s definitely stressful for a little bit, but growing up in the church, I just put my faith in God. If my time playing football was over, I had a good run at it. But my work isn’t done yet. God had better plans for me and I’m still here.”
Jones’ heartbeat eventually returned to normal, and he says he now “feels great.” The condition simply cleared up, according to Head Coach John Harbaugh.
Jones returned to the field Wednesday for a limited practice. He said he’s not that much out of shape, and called it a “minor setback” in what he expects to be another standout year.
Jones became a starter last year and logged 47 tackles and 4.5 sacks. He had a “tremendous” camp, according to Harbaugh, and was again listed as a starter on the depth chart.
Whether Jones will play this Sunday against Cleveland is unknown. Harbaugh said he’ll have to monitor how ready Jones is this week. Jones said that decision is up to the coaches to make, but that he can’t wait to get back to game action.
For now, however, he’s just happy to be playing football.
“I’m just blessed to play another down and be back out here with my teammates,” Jones said. “I couldn’t do anything for a while. It feels good to come out here and give it all I’ve got.”