All good things eventually come to an end. NFL star Julio Jones said goodbye to the Atlanta Falcons, the franchise where he rose to stardom, to embrace a new challenge with the Tennesse Titans at 32 years of age.
The wide receiver has been linked with a move away from the Falcons the entire summer, as he was understood to have requested a trade. Although Atlanta would have preferred him to stay, they eventually sent him to Tennessee in exchange for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick.
With less than a week for the beginning of the 2021 NFL season, Atlanta's life without Jones is just about to start and his departure is still a topic of discussion. If not, check out what Falcons owner Arthur Blank had to say.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank shares thoughts on Jones' departure
For the football community, Jones' exit from Atlanta began when he formally requested for a trade earlier this year, but according to the franchise owner, it began way before.
In 2019, Julio Jones signed a three-year contract extension worth $66 million. Albeit they found an agreement and those negotiations didn't break down, for Arthur Blank it was at that moment when things began to go south:
“Look back at the Julio situation in 2019,” Blank told The Athletic. “We, being Thomas (Dimitroff), coach (Dan) Quinn, the player and his agent, were all kind of at odds with each other.
“We got a contract done. We felt it was very generous. It made him the top paid receiver in NFL history. But for whatever reason, he felt it wasn’t sufficient respect. I don’t know why he’d feel that way, but he did feel that way.”
Even though those talks eventually led to the contract renewal, they may have damaged Jones' relationship with the franchise: “It changed. And if you spoke to the players on the team, not that they would say anything, but I think they would tell you the same thing.
“Look, he gave us 10 great years. He’s going to be a Hall of Fame player. He was a good teammate for all that period of time. His ability or willingness to practice the way he did early in his career was different. There were some people who were in the building who had an effect on him. He wanted out."
The Falcons were looking forward to keeping Jones for longer, but it made no sense to hold onto a player that didn't want to play there anymore. The former sixth-overall pick has joined a mighty Titans' offense, while Atlanta will try to have in Calvin Ridley their strongest receiving option.
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