GREEN BAY – While James Jones wholeheartedly welcomed back his friend and fellow Green Bay Packers wide receiver Donald Driver – going so far as to give up the space in front of his locker Wednesday to accommodate the throng of media wanting to talk to Driver – he also realized what Driver’s return meant for the rest of the receiving corps.
With Driver agreeing to a pay cut to return for a 14th season with the team, it’s not out of the realm of possibility – if Greg Jennings, Jordy Nelson, Randall Cobb and Driver remain healthy and young up-and-coming wide receivers Tori Gurley or Diondre Borel earn a roster spot – that Jones could be traded. He has a manageable contract and could be a No. 2 receiver on another team that’s not as loaded at the position.
Coach Mike McCarthy said Wednesday that the team would he “challenged” to keep six wide receivers on the 53-man roster when the regular season kicks off, and while Jones said Wednesday that he hasn’t been told by the team of any trade talk, he acknowledged that it’s crossed his mind and that he is the Packers’ No. “3, 4 (or) 5” receiver at this point.
“I don’t know how good my trade value is. (But) I haven’t heard anything about trades or anything like that. I’m just here to play football, man,” Jones said. “My main thing is, I’m blessed to have the kind of job I’ve got. Whether the Lord leads me to a different team, and I’m the No. 1, No. 2 dude, he does. If he keeps me here, he wants me here for a reason. I’m just here to play football. Whatever happens, happens.
“I don’t worry about all that stuff up top. If they came to me at my locker and said, ‘James, you’re going to the Cincinnati Bengals,’ I’d cry a little bit and then move on. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do. It’s a business. But I’m a Packer, man. And that’s why I came back here – because I want to win a championship. Let’s get it done.”
Rebounding from an up-and-down 2010 when he dropped some high-profile would-be touchdown passes, Jones caught 38 passes for 635 yards and seven touchdowns last season, even though he was only targeted for 55 passes on the year. STATS LLC had Jones for four drops; ProFootballFocus.com had him for six.
“You have to take pride in that,” Jones said of making the most of limited opportunities. “Every ball that comes my way, I try to make a big play – whether it’s a slant, a short pass, long pass, I try to make the most of it, because you really don’t know when you’re going to get another one with all the weapons we have. So you’ve got to make the most of your opportunities, and I feel like I did that last year.”
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