The NFL announced on Thursday afternoon that it has suspended defensive end Datone Jones for the first game of the upcoming season for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy. Jones, who either failed a drug test or missed a drug test, did not immediately issue a statement and the Packers had nothing to say other than announcing the news. Since the NFL does not announce suspensions until after the appeals process is complete, Jones’ case is closed.
The news comes in contrast with what Jones said during the offseason about his maturation.
“I learned so many new things,” Jones said during the June minicamp. “I had to mature a lot. That was one thing. I had to really dial in and really mature a lot and really put my focus all into football. A lot. I had to really focus. That was the biggest thing with my growth to make that next jump. A lot of times, it's not all about the numbers. ‘This guy had 15 sacks.’ No, it's not that. You have to dial in mentally and actually learn the game. That's where you get that veteran game where it's like, ‘Man, this guy, you think a guy is physical, but he's not doing anything spectacular.’”
Regardless of why Jones won’t be allowed to play in Week 1, the Packers will be without Jones and potentially could be without defensive tackle Letroy Guion when they open the season at Chicago. Guion was arrested in February in Starke, Fla., for felony possession of marijuana and a firearm. Guion accepted a plea deal in which he escaped prosecution in lieu of a $5,000 fine. The NFL has not announced any punishment in that case.
Jones, the team’s first-round pick in 2013, has 49 tackles, five sacks and one interception in two seasons. In 13 games in 2014, he had 1.5 sacks in the regular season and added a half-sack, one fumble recovery and one blocked field goal in the playoffs.
Jones will be allowed to participate in training camp and the preseason games.
Bill Huber is publisher of Packer Report magazine and PackerReport.com and has written for Packer Report since 1997. E-mail him at email@example.com, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.