In the 2015 season, Julio Jones came close to matching Calvin Johnson’s league record for receiving yards in a season, but going forward, there’s some speculation around that the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver could follow Johnson in another way, one that fans will not be happy to hear about.
“I don’t know how much longer Julio wants to play,” the AJC’s Jeff Schultz told the ‘We Never Played the Game’ podcast. “I think Julio’s got a little Calvin Johnson in him from the standpoint of, ‘I don’t want to do this forever. I want to take care of myself.’”
Falcons fans don’t exactly want to think about the man who may be their best ever player leaving the game forever, with the team boasting a genuine chance to content for their first ever Super Bowl, with Matt Ryan locked in for the next five years, and particularly right now as the relationship between Jones and the team seems to be frayed somewhat.
The Calvin Johnson comparison is also unsettling when considering that the receiver’s relationship with his former team was also compromised at the end, and also for financial reasons. The Lions demanded that Johnson return a portion of his signing bonus from the $132 million extension he signed a few years before, and reports emerged that Johnson handed over upwards of $1 million.
Now, the Falcons find themselves in a contractual dispute with the player who is poised to finish his career as the franchise leader in likely every receiving category. Johnson retired from the game when he was 30. Jones is 29, but while he’s given no indication of leaving the game yet, and has stated that he wants to play his entire career in Atlanta, it’s more than plausible that he is looking ahead to life after football and wanting to gain some financial security for when that time comes.
Already, Jones has stayed away from the voluntary offseason workouts, organized team activities, and the team’s three day mandatory minicamp period, despite the team’s public optimism that he would be in Atlanta with the team. Rookies are set to report to training camp on July 23 and veterans due in three days later.