Dancing is not football.
Fresh off his third-place finish on “Dancing With The Stars,” Jones is getting back into the swing of things in the Ravens’ up-tempo practices.
He said he felt “pretty good” after Wednesday’s session, but is working his way back.
“My conditioning is good and I’m not sore,” he said. “I’ve just got to get my legs back under me, football wise. It’s not like dancing. I still don’t feel like me. In a week, I’ll feel like me.”
Jones missed the Ravens’ voluntary strength and conditioning program and one week of OTAs. He said his teammates didn’t give him a hard time on his return. They were happier to see him more than anything so he could run some of the go routes, Jones quipped.
Jones was his usual self in the locker room, laughing with teammates and being his outgoing, goofy self. It was as if he never left.
“It feels good to get back with my teammates, my brothers,” he said. “Even though ‘Dancing With The Stars’ was fun, I’m back in my element.”
Now the test is to see if the show has any lingering effects. Past active NFL players who participated in the demanding show and rehearsals saw a decline in the year following.
Redskins defensive end Jason Taylor was the first active player to appear on the show in 2008. The next season, he started just eight games and logged only 3.5 sacks. He was traded after just one season.
Bengals wideout Chad Ochocinco was next in 2010. Following his appearance, he logged 67 catches for 831 yards and four touchdowns. He hadn’t dipped below 1,000 yards in seven of the previous eight seasons.
Steelers receiver Hines Ward won the competition in 2011, then posted his lowest stats since his rookie season with 46 catches, 381 yards and two touchdowns. It was his last year in the league.
Packers wide receiver Donald Driver also took first place in 2012, then also played his final season. He caught just eight passes for 77 yards and two touchdowns last year.
Jones doesn’t think he will suffer the same fate.
“I’m on the younger side,” he said. “I’ll be fine.”
Jones is right about that. Taylor was 33 when he went on the show, Ochocinco was 32, Ward was 35 and Driver was 37. They were all nearing the end of their careers. At 28 years old, Jones should be in his prime.
Now he’ll join an intense competition to determine the No. 2 wide receiver in the wake of Anquan Boldin’s departure. Jones caught 30 passes for 406 yards and a touchdown last year, but could be called on for more offensive production this season.
“As long as I get my legs back under me and cutting and stuff, I’ll be good,” Jones said.