Caught up with Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones today on the set of his commercial shoot.
We’ll have a story on the interview on MyAJC.com tomorrow, but here are five quick questions with Jones, who said he’s ahead of schedule and expected to be ready for the season opener against New Orleans.
Q: How did you get involved with Vita Coco?
A: I’m a natural guy. I don’t consume (any) shakes, pills or vitamins. None of that stuff. We did a little bit more research on it and it’s all natural and is really good for you.
Q: Trying to avoid cramps like LeBron?
A: I was usually a water type of guy. But Vita Coco is good for hydration as well. It’s been going really good for me. Especially, this whole process of me coming back from my injury and everything. I’ve been going out there running and everything, staying on top of it as far as rehydrating and making sure that I don’t get any cramps or anything in my muscles.
Q: How’s the recovery from foot surgery going?
A: Everything is going good. Like they said, I am ahead of schedule, but we are still taking it day by day. Whatever (coach Mike Smith), his trainer Marty (Lauzon) and I’m also working with (strength coach ) A.J. Neibel, whatever they’ve got planned for me, I’m doing it.
Q: How’s the offseason program going
A: I’m in the OTAs right now. I’m going to all of the meetings. I’m working out with all of the guys, but then also I get there earlier than those guys (because) you know I get treatment. I’m still getting treatment. I’ve been getting treatment for a while and also when those guys are out there doing OTAs, since the coaches don’t want me running routes, I just go off to the side and do my own thing.
Q: How have your workouts been coming along?
A: The last couple of weeks, I’ve been cutting and running a handful of routes. Nothing major, but you’ve got to start somewhere. We have to get back out there and get going, but I feel pretty good.
Jones fully expects to be with the Falcons for the long haul and expects to sign a contract extension with the Falcons before his rookie deal expires. The team recently exercised a fifth year option for 2015.
The Falcons have not made Jones available to the Atlanta media since he suffered his injury in Game 5.
But Jones did a round of interviews during his commercial shoot.
He was also interviewed by Sports Illustrated’s video site, SI Now, and said, “I will not get to free agency. They gave up a lot for me [in a pre-draft trade] and they know how hard I work. They’re not going to let me go.”
Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Jeff Schultz transcribed most of the interview below. Jones also he hopes the Falcons re-sign wide receiver Roddy White, whose contract expires after the 2015 season.
Schultz thought Jones’ response to Alabama’s loss to Auburn, followed by a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, was amusing. The Crimson Tide also lost the Sugar Bowl (to Utah) after losing to Florida for the SEC championship and a trip to the BCS title game in Jones’ freshman season.
“Nobody cares about playing in the Sugar Bowl,” Jones said. “When I was there in my freshman year we lost to Florida. We went to the Sugar Bowl and we lost to Utah. Nobody wanted to play that game. Everybody was disappointed because we thought we were going to the championship game.”
Here’s the transcription of Jones’ remarks. Links to the interview are at the end.
• On his progress rehabilitating from a broken foot: “I’m just running routes right now. Early in the week I was excited about being able to run, just trying to get my stamina back. But now I’ m able to plant off my right foot. It feels really good.”
• On whether he’ll go at full speed in OTAs or mini-camp: “I don’t think so. We’re just day by day. Whatever the trainer and the head coach want me to do out there, I’m willing to do. We’re not in a rush because the season is so far away right now … I can run routes, I’ve been working out since February. I’m back on schedule. I’m ahead of schedule, actually. Just making sure I’m ready to go for next year. Week 1 I’ll be ready to go.”
• On people second-guessing Falcons pre-draft trade for him: “I really don’t care what nobody says about our organization. My organization, they believed in me and I’m going to do my best to go out there and perform. We just had a minor setback last year. … I’m getting healthy so we can go out there and make a run.”
• On the Falcons’ 2013 season: “Last year we went 4-12 because we had a lot of injuries. So we just have to bounce back and I think we have the right guys on our team.”
• On still being upset about Alabama’s lost to Auburn, followed by a Sugar Bowl loss to Oklahoma, after an 11-0 start: “You watch it now. … Nobody cares about playing in the Sugar Bowl. When I was there in my freshman year we lost to Florida [in the SEC championship game]. We went to the Sugar Bowl and we lost to Utah. Nobody wanted to play that game. Everybody was disappointed because we thought we were going to the [BCS] championship game. … [Last] the same thing happened. They lost the game to Auburn, then they go to the Sugar Bowl and Oklahoma beats them. At Alabama, it’s either championship or [nothing]. We do have to get out of that mindset because every game matters. But I’m still frustrated about the Iron Bowl. I’m very upset about that.”
• On whether Nick Saban will stay at Alabama to the end of his Alabama contract in 2022: “Of course. As long as [wife] Miss Terry is happy, he’ll stay there.”
• On Instagram photo of him catching a sailfish: “I went out to Charleston with Roddy [White] and supported him. … [The photo was taken] outside of Myrtle Beach, about 72 miles out. Went out fishing and caught a sailfish. … I catch sharks, mermaids, all that stuff. Nothing to it.”
• On his Instagram photo of him being shirtless and sitting on a horse: “I was in Costa Rica. It was very hot, like 99. We were on a trail ride, touring the island.”
• On his Instagram photo of him wearing camp and holding a plastic gun: “The gun is plastic. I’m sponsored by UnderArmour. I went deer hunting. I saw a lot of Bambis out there but I didn’t want to shoot them.”
• Does he think he’ll get to free agency? “No. I will not get to free agency. They gave up a lot for me and they know how hard I work. They’re not going to let me go. And I love Atlanta, I love being here.”
• On how he’s affected if Roddy White doesn’t his contract extended past 2014: “A lot of double team. I’d get double-teamed every game. It’s gonna be difficult. But I think Roddy’s going to be there. He wants to play three more years with us.”
Here are the links to SI Now’s online interview with Jones:
— Part 1: link
— Part 2: link
— Part 3: link
— Part 4: link
— Part 5: link
PHASE THREE OF OFFSEASON PROGRAM
–Tuesday, June 10 – OTA No. 7.
–Wednesday, June 11 – OTA No. 8.
–Thursday, June 12 – OTA No. 9.
–Friday, June 13 – OTA No. 10.
–Monday, June 16 – Physicals.
–Tuesday, June 17 — Day One: Mandatory minicamp (5 practices over three days)
–Wednesday, June 18 – Day Two: Mandatory minicamp.
–Thursday, June 19 – Day Three: Mandatory minicamp. (Offseason program ends for veterans).
TBA – Rookie Symposium
TBA – (Late July) – Report to Training camp.
DRAFT CLASS STORIES
THE ATLANTA FALCONS 2014 DRAFT CLASS