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Jaguars safety Josh Jones emerges from his 'dark place' to earn starting safety job

By Gary Smits, The Florida Times-Union (Jacksonville, Fla.) on

Published in Football

It took more than a month for him to latch on with another team, the Dallas Cowboys. That was the time he said he was at his lowest ebb.

"I've been playing this game since I was 8 years old ... I love this game and anyone that's around me knows I play this game out of pure love," Jones said. "I felt like I didn't know if I was going to play again. A lot of things run through your head. What's going to happen, which team are you going to go to ... a lot of uncertainty. For the first time in my life football wasn't there."

Jones eventually was signed to the Dallas practice squad on Oct. 2, then promoted to the active roster on Nov. 16. He played in six games, on special teams, before being waived on Dec. 28.

This time, Jones didn't have to wait long. The Jaguars signed him three days later.

Jones set out to prove to the Jags they made the right decision. With no off-season program or OTAs, he immersed himself in the playbook and the team's virtual program and began asserting himself from the beginning of training camp.

"I spent the whole off-season going through the playbook every day," he said. "Going over plays, audibles, motions. When we did get to camp, I was on point. When everything was shut down, I took that opportunity to focus on football."

 

Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said it was easy to see that Jones reported to training camp ready mentally and physically.

"Josh just stood out right off the bat," Marrone said. "He came back with knowledge and enthusiasm and being in the right position and making plays from the first day walking into the building. I think every time we had given him an opportunity, he showed up big, he really did."

Marrone said Jones seemed to realize the Jaguars might be his last shot at staying in the league.

"A lot of times players that maybe bounce around a little bit or something ... you're like, 'Hey, this is it. This is the last opportunity for me,' and I think that might have played into his mindset."

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