Julio Jones processes injuries to stay on field for Atlanta Falcons


The following Julio Jones' body parts have appeared on the Atlanta Falcons injury report this season - ankle eight times, thumb twice and back, hip, knee and ribs once apiece.

This week, it's the ankle, and Jones did not practice on Tuesday and Wednesday. But the wide receiver worked during the final practice of the week on Thursday before the Falcons left Atlanta for their Saturday playoff game in Philadelphia against the Eagles.

Despite all those appearances on the injury report, Jones has played in every Atlanta game. During the regular season, he caught 88 passes for 1,444 yards and three touchdowns, then had nine receptions for 94 yards and a touchdown in the Falcons' 26-13 victory over the Los Angeles Rams in the first round of the playoffs. He earned his fourth straight Pro Bowl invitation and led the NFC in receiving yards for the fourth season in a row.

So the Falcons aren't concerned about Jones being ready to play on Saturday.

"He has a real process to do that," Atlanta coach Dan Quinn said. "We're fortunate that he's played with injuries and kind of knows the routine of how to do it."

Hall of Fame coach Vince Lombardi used to say: "Hurt is in the mind." Jones phrases pain management another way: "Once you get it mentally, everything else is really easy for you."

"The thing with being injured is really just blocking it out," Jones told reporters in the Falcons' locker room on Thursday. "Don't use it as an excuse. If you say you're going to go, go. Don't bring it up in the middle of the game like, 'Oh, this hurts.' Like, we know that it hurts. You know what I mean? So don't let your mind be negative. Just stay positive. If something's hurting or anything like that, I never relate back to it like, 'Oh, it's -- ' Well, I know it hurts. You don't want to talk about it and bring that stuff up during the game.

"If I suit up, I'm going. I'm not saying anything about it. It is what it is. I'm out there."

Jones cited an incident at Alabama that helped him in his mental approach to injuries.

During the Crimson Tide's upset loss to South Carolina on Oct. 16, 2010, Jones suffered a fractured hand in the first half. He kept playing and finished the game with eight receptions for 118 yards and a touchdown.

After surgery, he played again the next Saturday, but caught only one pass for 8 yards. He said the injury had gotten in his head. But by the time Alabama played Tennessee the next week, he'd overcome that handicap and set a school record with 221 receiving yards.

"I broke my hand that Saturday and had surgery that Sunday," the former Foley High School star said, "and I played the following week. I would say I was a little timid to catch because of the pain, and it was just messing with me mentally. ... So now it's just like, 'Forget it.' Like 'It's going to hurt. I'm out here. I made the decision to be out here. I don't care about it hurting. I can't do any more damage because I already had surgery. It's going to heal, so let's go.'"

The Falcons and Eagles kick off at 3:35 p.m. CST Saturday at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia. NBC will televise the game.

In his second NFL game, Jones caught two passes for 29 yards against Philadelphia on Sept. 18, 2011. In three games against Eagles since then, Jones has caught 24 passes for 399 yards and three touchdowns.

Philadelphia cornerback Jalen Mills said Jones is a perennial all-star because he's more than big and fast.

"One thing I like about Julio is, he's a grinder," Mills said. "You see him get pressed at the line of scrimmage, or guys playing off him, or breaking off his route, you see him trying to still fight for position. You don't see that out of a lot of receivers, regardless of how good they are or not. You see most guys get jammed up at the line, and they just give up on the play because the quarterback's looking off them, or you see guys jump a guy's route and they just kind of stop and let the ball get picked off. Julio's a grinder, though. He's definitely going to fight you and try to get to the ball." 

This article first appears on AL.Com

Older Post Newer Post


Leave a comment

Added to cart!