As the league began to converge on Indy over the weekend, a former Combine star who is currently a member of the Miami Dolphins made some foreboding comments about what playing the game of football has done to him.
Byron Jones, who was a first-round pick out of Connecticut by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, set an NFL record with a 12’3″ broad jump at the Combine before he was drafted. Now, a little more than eight years later, the 30-year-old claims he can no longer run or jump at all, let alone more than 12 feet.
“It was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee. In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities. Godspeed to the draft class of 2023,” Jones wrote on Twitter. “Much has changed in 8 years. Today I can’t run or jump because of my injuries sustained playing this game. DO NOT take the pills they give you. DO NOT take the injections they give you. If you absolutely must, consult an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications.”
Based on those comments, it seems more likely than not that Jones, who surprisingly ended up missing all of last season because of surgery on his Achilles tendon but had been expected to return to the field for Miami, is finished playing in the NFL. However, a source told ESPN that Jones is not retiring. That makes sense for Jones financially as he signed a five-year, $82 million contract in 2020 and will want to collect as much of the balance of that deal as Miami will allow him to.
A Pro Bowler in 2018, Jones has 57 pass deflections and four interceptions in his eight-year career. If he does end up coming back for a ninth year, it may not be with the Dolphins as the club can save $13.6 million by releasing or trading him after June 1.
Whatever happens with Jones, his words to the players who will be working out in Indy this week to improve their stock in the draft should serve as a cautionary tale and a reminder of what NFL really stands for: not for long.