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Matt Jones: "It was a bad mistake"

In a revealing, contrite interview, former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones acknowledged the depth of his problems that have left him currently unemployed as he tries to catch on with another NFL team.

Jones told Michael C. Wright of the Florida Times-Union that he has learned a very hard lesson.

The former first-round draft pick was arrested last summer when he was caught by police cutting up cocaine in a car with a credit card.

Then, Jones served a week in jail for violating his probation by admittedly drinking alcohol on a golf course. Jones was arrested on March 9 for contempt, and the Jaguars cut him from the roster exactly one week later.

“[Cocaine] is something I hadn’t really done in the past, so it’s not like there was ever a drug problem,” Jones told the Times-Union. “[The incident] was something where I was with some of my buddies. It was a bad mistake, bad judgment on everybody’s part.”

And that mistake has triggered serious consequences for Jones’ career.

At this point, no deal is in the offing with an NFL team for the former University of Arkansas star even though he’s not facing any pending punishment from the league office with the exception of a $50,000 fine.

“We’ve had dialogue with multiple teams,” Jones’ agent, Dave Butz, said. “I think [his prospects for catching on with a new team] are excellent.

“We’re excited now to find the best fit for Matt. He’s scot-free as far as punishment and ready to have a great year.”

Jones, who caught 65 passes for 716 yards last season prior to being suspended by the NFL, admitted that his work habits weren’t up to par during his time with the Jaguars.

“My first year, I was just running around, being an athlete,” Jones said. “The second and third year, I kind of started to figure everything out. Then last year, I finally knew how to get open, was learning how to play receiver.”

However, Jones violated his plea agreement and was sentenced to jail for contempt.

“I just had some bad advice from people who were close to me that were like, ‘Hey, you can drink a couple of beers. It’s not a big deal,'” Jones said. “In the NFL program, you can drink alcohol. But there were a lot of different rules [from the drug court and the league] that I was looking at going through all that.

“The bottom line was it was a mistake I made and paid for. Really, I can’t point the finger at anybody else but myself.”

And Jones has tarnished his reputation severely.

In addition to his off-field problems, Jones’ work ethic is definitely under scrutiny.

Wright spoke with an unnamed former NFL head coach about how Jones is perceived around the league, and the review wasn’t a positive one.

“I don’t know the specifics of Matt’s situation, but guys like him and Mike Vick — obviously, Matt’s situation isn’t as serious — but I think teams are reluctant to deal with character problems,” the anonymous coach said. “There have been guys who have come through in the past I’ve worked with [that ran into legal difficulties] who are still trying to get back in.

“Once nobody trusts you, it’s hard to get back into the league. Another thing about Matt is he’s got a bit of a rep for being a lazy guy.”

For Matt Jones, it’s a lot of self-imposed obstacles to overcome.

However, at least he sounds committed to trying to change his ways.

“I’m just sorry for making these mistakes and how everything turned out,” Jones said “I let down my family, friends and people close to me, my teammates,” Jones said. “I feel bad for my mother having to go through so much in everyday life, people saying stuff to her.

“At the same time, all this has brought our family closer together. Everybody makes mistakes. Anybody who knows me, they know my heart and know there was never any type of problem with drugs or alcohol. I can’t worry about what other people are thinking.”

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29 Responses to “Matt Jones: "It was a bad mistake"”
  1. Mangy66 says: Jul 16, 2009 9:46 PM

    When asked about their son, Aaron Wilson’s parents said the same exact thing.
    “It was a bad mistake”

  2. ZN0rseman says: Jul 16, 2009 9:55 PM

    Jones is a very talented player, and it’s a shame he got wrapped up in bad things. He’s saying all of the right things, I just hope he can turn it around and prove all of his naysayers wrong.
    $0.02,
    –Z

  3. SaintsBucsPanthersSUKK says: Jul 16, 2009 9:56 PM

    ♪ I’ve paid my dues
    ♪ Time after time
    ♪ I’ve served my sentence
    ♪ But committed no crime
    ♪ And bad mistakes
    ♪ I’ve made a few
    ♪ I’ve had my share of sand kicked in my face but I’ve come through!
    ♪ We are the champions, my friend!
    ♪ And we’ll keep on fighting, ’til the end!
    ♪ We are the champions
    ♪ We are the champions!
    ♪ No time for losers!
    ♪ Cos’ we are the champions……… of the world!……..

  4. king of chico says: Jul 16, 2009 10:06 PM

    So how was he not suspended??? Was he??? I always wondered. He played after a coke charge? Got sent to jail in the offseason? I guess the NFL thinks he’s done. They should have sat him for this but he’s white and godell would never punish white guys!!!!!!!!!

  5. kaakwha says: Jul 16, 2009 10:12 PM

    O my Goodell, I am heartily sorry for
    having offended you, and I detest
    all my sins, because of Your just
    punishments, but most of all because
    they offend You, my Commissioner, who are
    all-good and deserving of all my love.
    I firmly resolve, with the help of
    Your grace, to sin no more and to
    avoid the near occasion of sin.
    sincerely
    Matt

  6. Eddie Drycleaner says: Jul 16, 2009 10:30 PM

    Yet another guy I hope/pray gets it. and like all the others he’ll probably let me down.
    It’s funny, I never knew Chris Carter was a coke head until probably two weeks ago. I guess back then dudes really did turn their lives around. But I suppose times have changed, and people have figured out that the appearance of being a good person is more important than actually being a good person.
    good luck matt jones, with your “it’s not my fault because blah blah blah” but it’s “really my fault because blah blah blah” BS.
    Does anyone know when Rae Carruth gets out? I’d love to hear his spin on how it wasn’t his fault.

  7. Beer With Donuts says: Jul 16, 2009 10:38 PM

    Sure he’s a doofus, but a converted QB would make a better #1 receiver for Chicago than a converted CB would, as long as Hester’s ego can take the hit.
    Actually, if I’m a Chicago fan, I say sign Jones and relegate Hester to #3 WR and full time returner. You know, let him do the things he’s good at doing.

  8. bearsfan says: Jul 16, 2009 10:42 PM

    Good to hear. If he truly does not have any character issues, I’d love for the Bears to sign him.

  9. rifraf66 says: Jul 16, 2009 10:48 PM

    It was a bad mistake, bad judgment
    YA THINK?????

  10. MasterShake says: Jul 16, 2009 11:42 PM

    Another jackass trying to rebuild what he/she already had. You screwed the hell up! Action, not words! (great Def Leppard song, right carl?) Who gave this loser a credit card? I need answers!

  11. Indyeagle says: Jul 16, 2009 11:55 PM

    I try my best to judge no one, including Vick, Plax, and Matt Jones. I hope and pray that all of them get things turned around.
    With that being said, why do I have this feeling in the pit of my stomach that he will be wearing a star on his helmet next year? If I was a GM in the NFL, I would give him a shot. Tell him he is your 8th receiver going into camp and if he doesn’t work hard enough to be considered at least a number 2 at final cuts, he is gone. What do you have to lose? Make the contract mostly incentive based and cut him at the first sign of being a problem with chemistry.

  12. BrenstonBuckner says: Jul 16, 2009 11:55 PM

    Not quite as bad as McNairs mistake..

  13. MasterShake says: Jul 17, 2009 12:16 AM

    Um, this white shit above my nose? It’s a bad mustache! Not a bad mistake. Hell, go with “Got Milk”. Step up ripper! There’s better ways to spin this to get your job back. Go against the grain. Tell them it was a product of StarCaps, and you’ll sign with the Vikings so you can play this year. Cracker from Arkansas, go figure. (non-racially but stereotypically motivated)

  14. Bruno The Manchine says: Jul 17, 2009 1:03 AM

    Chicago?

  15. Kidekk says: Jul 17, 2009 1:46 AM

    And he was not suspended by Goodell for what reason?

  16. Kenneth says: Jul 17, 2009 5:46 AM

    Matt Jones was coming into his own as a receiver considering he had to make a major position change. I wish the Jaguars would have kept him, But the Southern Baptist crowd in this back bencher town would never stand for it. And I thought religion was all about ” Forgiveness “? I guess I was wrong.

  17. Big Vinny says: Jul 17, 2009 6:25 AM

    If only people could have the wisdom that comes with age to go with the physical abilities that go with youth.
    You think this guy has regrets now? Wait until he’s 40 and every penny he ever made – including that signing bonus – are gone. If it already isn’t.

  18. realityonetwo says: Jul 17, 2009 6:42 AM

    A tiger can’t change his stripes. Once a bum always a bum…

  19. ajr812 says: Jul 17, 2009 7:01 AM

    he actually served a 4 game suspension last year for his coke charge. he did not recieve another suspension this year because he did not violate any nfl rules. he only violated the rules of his court probation.
    football is a mans sport. if guys wanna do blow and run around hitting people on the field let em do it. quit being sissy asses AMERICA.
    – Hitler Made Good Speeches Too. -

  20. xgbx says: Jul 17, 2009 7:48 AM

    With the new league-wide crush on the spread offense/wildcat, I would go poopy in my pants if he doesn’t get a shot with a team very soon.

  21. Alfie says: Jul 17, 2009 8:23 AM

    It’s a good thing to see that even with the move to NBC, PFTers still just try to be the quickest to make a funny quip instead of reading.
    Matt Jones was suspended the final four games of the 2008 season, after he appealed. You know… the standard first time drug suspension.

  22. Bill In DC says: Jul 17, 2009 8:28 AM

    “It was a bad mistake”
    Ya think?

  23. sevenirongator says: Jul 17, 2009 8:42 AM

    That Cocain is a helluva drug

  24. empty13 says: Jul 17, 2009 8:43 AM

    he also knew who the troublemakers were…
    jones probly should have been left at qb. the league will give undersized and way oversized black guys who wont work, cant throw accurately, cant read (defenses), and have to have a moss, a million chances to play qb. a tall fast white guy gets converted to wideout and never gets to throw the ball again.

  25. Alfie says: Jul 17, 2009 9:36 AM

    Empty13, Matt Jones would require extensive shoulder surgery on his labrum on his throwing shoulder to even consider being an effective quarterback.
    That’s why Jacksonville never ran any “wildcat” plays with him except for the occasional end-around or QB Sweep.

  26. Snarky Snide Sniper says: Jul 17, 2009 11:19 AM

    Jones isn’t behind the “8-ball” anymore (legally or with the league).
    So I think the Bears should offer him a “line”…to sign on.
    Get him for a 1 year “deal”–the risk is minimal, big upside as a “possession” guy.
    And something tells me, even coming from Jax, he’d have no problem playing in Chicago “snow”…
    If he looks like he’ll “blow’ in training camp, then just “cut” him…
    (sorry)

  27. texasPHINSfan says: Jul 17, 2009 1:11 PM

    can’t believe so many of you guys are slamming the guy for being honest & owning up to his mistakes.
    i for one, applaud him for accepting his mistake & owning up to it. hard for many to do. good to hear he wasn’t pointing the finger at others.
    given that his offenses are not nearly as bad as Pacman, Vick, etc, i do hope he gets another chance. He definitely has an athletic talent…

  28. Darth Ringo says: Jul 17, 2009 2:02 PM

    “… I can’t worry about what other people are thinking.”
    Seems to me the guy’s biggest problem is that other people don’t think very highly of him. In his shoes, I’d worry about changing that but if he can’t be bothered okay.. hope he invested that rookie bonus well.

  29. FumbleNuts says: Jul 17, 2009 5:39 PM

    I would like to see the Seahawks give this guy a chance and sign him.

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