First, Datone Jones said he was sorry.
“Apologize to my teammates, the fans of Green Bay, our organization, my president, my GM, my coaches,” Jones said about being suspended for the Green Bay Packers’ Week 1 game against Chicago due to a marijuana arrest after the NFC Championship Game. “It was a long, tough year, and I’ve moved past it. I dwelled on it. My mind is all into football now, focused, and I’m ready to get better with my teammates.”
The 25-year-old Jones, who said he did not appeal the suspension, called it a learning experience, and his focus is on getting ready for the Week 2 game against Chicago.
“Football can be taken away from you, and I’m not a young player anymore,” Jones said. “I have to make better decisions, and I have to be accountable to my teammates. What I do off the field affects them, as well. Every day that I leave this facility, every day that I go home, I always try to keep in mind that I’m not only doing this for myself, but I’m doing this for teammates, as well. This whole offseason, I’ve known about it. I’ve been doing better. Every day I haven’t really let it affect me. I’ve been pushing myself day in and day out just to make it up to my teammates.”
Jones said he has to show that through his actions. In two seasons, Jones has started three games and recorded five sacks. Last season, the 2013 first-round pick lost his starting job to Josh Boyd, a 2013 fifth-round pick, and became nothing more than a situational pass rusher. At this point, he’s been a tremendous disappointment. It’s obviously early in training camp, but he hasn’t done much to stand out on a deep defensive line as he works with the second unit on the base defense.
He knows there’s plenty at stake – and not just for him and the team.
“It’s not about saying the right things,” Jones said. “For me, football is my everything. Football is my way. It’s been my ticket. It’s what I love doing every day. It’s not just about me, it’s about my teammates. I have a new wife (in March). I have a daughter that’s on the way (in October). It’s for my family. I have to become that provider for me, as well. This game is more than a game today. This sport is more than a game to me. It’s more a life. It’s realistic. When I go out there, I’m doing it for my family, my teammates and for myself ultimately. I’m hurt over the situation. I’m focused and I’m ready to go. That’s all I can really say.”
Bill Huber is publisher of 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.