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Arthur Blank Says Julio Jones Wanted Out of Atlanta Since Contract Negotiations in 2019, Not 'Sufficient Respect'

The Score — "It's easy to look back with hindsight and say, 'Should we have done that?' Look back at the Julio situation in 2019. We, being (former GM) Thomas (Dimitroff), (former coach Dan) Quinn, the player and his agent (Jimmy Sexton), were all kind of at odds with each other," Blank said to Jeff Schultz of The Athletic.

"We got a contract done. We felt it was very generous. It made him the top paid receiver in NFL history. But for whatever reason, he felt it wasn't sufficient respect. I don't know why he'd feel that way, but he did feel that way."

Blank believes the two parties never recovered from that point.

"Look, he gave us 10 great years. He's going to be a Hall of Fame player. He was a good teammate for all that period of time. (But) his ability or willingness to practice the way he did early in his career was different. There were some people who were in the building who had an effect on him. He wanted out, and the last thing coach (Arthur) Smith wants is a player who doesn't want to be here."

I love Arthur Blank. Despite the fact he heads an organization which has found ways to accomplish extraordinary and sometimes seemingly impossible failure in recent years, I honestly believe he's one of the best owners in sports. He usually seems to know what he's doing as a businessman and has always been very personable.

But don't make me try to not like Julio Jones. He's gone, what good is something like this doing now? I still have a No. 11 jersey. I'm looking at a Julio bobblehead on my desk right now. He's going to be in the Falcons Ring of Honor — as well as the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Don't shit on the guy on his way out the door.

All we heard throughout the offseason was the dire financial straits the Falcons were in if they didn't get rid of Jones. I suppose that fact and the things Blank lay out are not necessarily mutually exclusive, but again, they just don't really need to be said at this point. Everyone in the organization seemed to love Jones while he was on the team, so it seems curious to me that the man at the top would come out with comments like this shortly after he was traded.

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I hope Julio is incredibly happy in Nashville and I hope the Falcons are able to use the second round pick they got from the Titans to further help re-build around Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. Everybody just be friends.