Early last month, the Falcons traded receiver Julio Jones after 10 seasons with the franchise.
It was a move that felt somewhat inevitable after multiple reports during draft week said the Falcons were exploring the possibility. Then Jones said, “I’m out of there,” during an appearance on FS1.
But Falcons owner Arthur Blank apparently didn’t love that result.
Blank spoke to the media at training camp on Thursday and discussed how the trade went down.
“Julio made it clear that he had certain aspirations and wanted to do it someplace else,” Blank said, via Scott Bair of the team’s website. “That was not our original intent. That’s the message that we got from the player and human being as well. He gave us 10 great years, which is about half of my ownership. He set all kinds of records, but the time was right for him to move on.
“I think the coach and General Manager did a good job trying to get him to stay here, but he was ready to move. One thing about football is that you want a locker room where everyone does want to be here. You don’t want even one of the 53 to want to be someplace else.”
Blank added that he was personally bothered by Jones saying he wanted to be traded.
“We had a 10-year relationship. We had a good relationship,” Blank said. “He was productive, a Hall-of-Fame player, and I was disappointed he felt that way. For whatever reasons, I’m not sure, I wasn’t able to speak with him. I tried to, but he felt the way he felt and he wanted to make a change.”
Jones is now a member of the Titans and the Falcons have to move on with their first-year head coach Arthur Smith and General Manager Terry Fontenot. Jones left Atlanta as the franchise’s all-time leader in receptions and receiving yards. He’s second on the all-time list with 60 touchdowns, three behind Roddy White.