Stay of Execution

Following three lackluster seasons after being converted from a collegiate quarterback to an NFL wide receiver, and a felony drug charge, Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones needed something of a miracle to stay on the Jaguars training camp roster. With the recent surgery to number one wide receiver Jerry Porter, Jones may have received that "miracle," or at least a stay of execution.

When the news broke of Matt Jones' arrest nearly two weeks ago, it seemed to be not a question of "if," but more like a question of "when" the Jaguars would cut their losses with the former first-round pick. Jones appears to be cat-like, not with his on-field quickness, but the fact he appears to have nine lives as he still finds himself a member of the team.

To be fair, Jones hasn't been convicted of anything as of yet, but the reports of his arrest look pretty bad. He was reportedly found in the back of a car, preparing cocaine for consumption. Throw in his seemingly apathetic nature for the hard work of becoming a star wide receiver and it seemed inevitable that Jones would be released.

"With his last off-field issue, I don't know how that's going to turn about for him," Jaguars right tackle Tony Pashos told Sirius NFL Radio. "I think everybody that follows along with our club and the draft knows what impressive talent he is, he's a 6'6", who can run 4.3's and 4.4's when he wants to, it's a shame that it hasn't produced the way he has."

Matt Jones level of talent has never been a question, but it has been his commitment to the game of football. Jones' inconsistent play over his career reeks of a lack of physical and mental preparation, and those are qualities that are certainly not indicative of a Jack Del Rio football team.

"Matt needs to go into every offseason with that fire and desire to be the best guy on the team, if not the NFL," said Tony Pashos. "It's only in his hands whether he bounces back from this, whether he's still on this club or any other club and if he actually taps in to all that talent that he does have, because its an enormous amount there. It's squarely on his shoulders and it's a shame that he got into trouble because he was working hard, but he's got to man up now."

It seemed more than apparent that Jones wouldn't have the opportunity to "man up" in Jacksonville, but the injury to Jerry Porter has seemed to allow for Jones to have another shot, at least through training camp. Jones will likely have one last shot to be the player that the Jaguars envisioned him to be when they drafted him in the first-round of the 2005 draft. Although Jones has shown very good hands in recent camps, nobody really knows what to expect out of him.

"Until you put pads on and play in the games, it's really hard to evaluate (what type of player he is), especially since there's so many of those wide receivers doing so good," said Tony Pashos. "He needs to answer that (if he has the fire to be a pro) on his own, he needs to deep down answer that on his own."

Jerry Porter's injury would hardly be considered miraculous by most Jaguars fans, their front office, and the team's coaching staff, as they will miss their big free agent acquisition for all of training camp and preseason at least. But to Matt Jones, this injury is just what he needed to afford himself one final opportunity to resurrect his career.


Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie is a regular syndicated contributor to FoxSports and Sirius NFL Radio, and has been featured on the NFL Network. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. Feel free to contact him -HERE- with questions or comments.

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