Mike McCarn/Associated Press
Once an Atlanta Falcon, always an Atlanta Falcon.
That is apparently what wide receiver Julio Jones would like to say following his career. After Thursday’s 25-17 victory over the Carolina Panthers, Jones told NFL Network he would like to retire with the only NFL team he has ever known (around the four-minute mark).
“I do want to finish my career with Atlanta, but, like I said, at the end of the day those things are out of your hands,” he said while also explaining he still believes he is the best wide receiver in the league.
Jones was brilliant in the win and finished with seven catches for 137 yards while torching Carolina’s zone. He was even more important after Calvin Ridley exited with an ankle injury.
The receiver’s comments come with Tuesday’s trade deadline hovering over a 2-6 team that likely isn’t going to make a late playoff push. Moving him to a contender could help the Falcons land a number of important assets to facilitate any rebuild, but he is also still a key playmaker who is under contract through 2023.
Falcons writer Kelsey Conway explained there have been “several reports that questioned if the Falcons would be looking to shop some of their top players,” although Jones was adamant even leading up to the Carolina game that he wanted to stay put.
“No,” he said of any desire to be traded. “I play football. I know who I am, I know what I got going on. I know what I mean to this team.”
Atlanta selected Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft, and he has established himself as a franchise icon already with seven Pro Bowl appearances, two All-Pro selections and seven seasons with more than 1,100 receiving yards.
He led the league in receiving yards twice and helped lead the Falcons to the Super Bowl during the 2016 campaign.
While they fell short in that one, it sounds like the Alabama product would like another chance at a Lombardi Trophy in an Atlanta uniform.