He called his agent: “I’m coming home.”
Jones took less money than he could have gotten on the free agent market to stay in Baltimore. He reportedly signed with the Ravens for four years, $12 million.
When asked how much money he left on the table elsewhere, Jones joked that he’s not good at math, then gave a clue that it was “enough.”
It’s not a decision that every free agent makes. Often, they want top dollar. Who doesn’t in their respective jobs?
But Jones said that while walking around in New York, a realization dawned on him.
“I think I came to my senses to the fact that this was probably the only place that ever let me be myself,” he said. “You know I kind of have a few screws loose up here [points to his head]. They accept that.”
Jones is definitely a character, such a big one that he was a fan favorite on “Dancing With The Stars” last offseason. Jones’ dances and one-liners have endeared him with the Ravens and the community.
Jones recounted a conversation he had with Head Coach John Harbaugh when he first signed with Baltimore two years ago. Harbaugh told him to just be himself and play football.
Since then, Harbaugh has allowed his receiver to go on national television and be his goofy self. In return, Jones has been a dynamic playmaker on special teams and as a receiver.
“I appreciated that,” Jones said. “He lets you be a man. It matured me. … We enjoy ourselves, we have fun and joke around. But when it’s time to get serious, we turn that light switch on.”
Jones and Harbaugh had a conversation on the plane after their season-ending loss in Cincinnati. Harbaugh told Jones that the front office would make it work because he wanted him to stay.
Jones told his coach that he wanted to retire in Baltimore. A four-year contract may make that a reality considering Jones is 29 years old.
“Coach Harbaugh, he is a man of his word,” Jones said.
“Without question, we believe that his best football is in front of him,” Harbaugh said, adding that he’s a playmaker who can break open a game at any time, but has also grown into a quality chain-moving wide receiver.
Another man that helped Jones mature, and played a part in his decision to return, is new Ravens Offensive Coordinator Gary Kubiak.
“I didn’t really know my father, so I think Kubiak really is my biological father,” Jones said. “We’re going to have a DNA test to make sure. He always played that role for me.”
Jones and Kubiak embraced, then Jones strolled around the Under Amour Performance Center saying hello again to old his old friends and joking around as if he never left. He even kidded about getting quarterback
Jones was back home, and he came wearing a hat emblazoned with “I <3 Baltimore.”