Mike Smith: Julio Jones will be a Falcon “for a long, long time”

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The Falcons 2013 season was officially down the tubes when Julio Jones was lost for the season with a foot injury.

But Falcons coach Mike Smith said Tuesday that Jones was working toward being ready for the opener, and apparently many openers to come.

The wide receiver’s contract option figures to be picked up soon, but Smith told reporters he didn’t think that was an issue.

“I do know this. Julio Jones is going to be an Atlanta Falcon for a long, long time,” Smith said.

The Falcons have made it clear they wanted to extend Jones, but wanted to do other business first. After an active early part of free agency, things have slowed, and the focus has shifted to getting ready for the draft.

But it sounds like they’re not concerned about the business they’ll eventually do with Jones. Smith said Jones was working with trainers, and every expectation was that he’d be ready for the opener.