Donald Jones knows he has overcome way too much to let a premium opportunity in the Patriots offense pass him by. And he is surely aware enough to know plenty of wide receivers before him have been acquired and tossed aside for slipping with their work.

Jones signed a three-year, $4.155 million contract with the Pats this offseason. While there are chances to earn $435,000 in roster and reporting bonuses each season he remains with the team, the three-year veteran didn’t get a guaranteed dollar in the deal. For Jones, it’s about picking up the playbook or finding new reading material elsewhere.

He has acknowledged the challenge, but it doesn’t rattle him. Jones grew up in a rough area in Plainfield, N.J., where he said he’s “seen a lot of things.” When he didn’t take high school seriously enough to make the grades to play for a bigger college program, he was humbled by having to attend Lackawanna (Pa.) Community College before landing at Youngstown State.

Jones went undrafted in 2010 and was up and down in three seasons with the Bills, but he did enough to catch Bill Belichick’s attention. Now, it’s about earning and retaining the trust of Belichick and Tom Brady to keep this opportunity in focus. Since this has been so many years in the making, Jones is ready to pounce, and he sounds determined to make it work.

“Here, they keep you on your toes,” said Jones, who noted it’s more complex than Buffalo’s system. “They switch a lot of things up week to week, so you have to constantly be on your 1’s and 2’s and paying attention to what they’re saying. Because if you get out there and mess it up, you’re going to be on the bench, and Tom’s not throwing to you.”

Jones has liked his progress so far, and has really enjoyed working with Brady, who is both demanding and fun to be around. When they aren’t running an up-tempo practice session — in the offseason, no less — or going through a route tree off to the side, Brady has taken the opportunity to remind Jones of the amount of times he’s whupped the Bills in the past.

“I really grew up watching him,” Jones said. “So, to be here and playing alongside him now is — I don’t want to say a dream come true because that kind of sounds star-struck, but it really is. When you’re a young receiver, you want a great quarterback in order to play along with. He can make you that much better. So I’m excited about it and working hard every day to try to make sure he trusts me out on the field.”