If there's one common experience we all share, it's having those times in our lives where we've screwed up and have to be on our best behavior for a while. You get into trouble and your parents ground you for it. Maybe your grades are dropping so they take your TV time away. Your significant other doesn't appreciate the way you were flirting with someone more attractive. You may have gotten written up at work. In extreme cases, you've been brought up on criminal charges. A serious federal weapons violation, perhaps:
Maybe it's just me, but that would seem to be a little bit more impactful than, say, losing your Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom privileges because you're carrying a D- in Calculus. Jack Jones is not only facing potential jail time, like I said at the time of his arrest, he's running out of football programs to be high maintenance in. He was dismissed by USC for academic reasons and breaking into a Panda Express in the middle of the night (allegedly). After going the JUCO route, he landed at Arizona State before getting suspended there. Then didn't survive his rookie season without running afoul of Bill Belichick's Code of Conduct.
So yeah, given the fact Jones is currently in the legal status of "released on personal recognizance awaiting pretrial hearing," it's reasonable to think he'd be a model citizen at training camp. Showing up early. Leaving late. Making his bed. Telling mom to stay in her seat because he's got the dishes and by the way, dinner was delicious. And above all else, playing well with others.
But so far in his football career, Jack Jones hasn't been giving off much of that Big Reasonableness Energy. And today was no exception. Due to the fact it's hard to tell what exactly is happening on a practice field when it comes to interpersonal relationships. It takes reading body language from a 100 yards away. So reports differ somewhat. But together they paint a picture of a guy who's having a hard time getting along:
Jack Jones is in coverage against Kendrick Bourne while wearing the hand pads they use to eliminate holding and make it harder to stay with a receiver. Bourne makes the catch. Words are exchanged. Jones decides the practice field is not the place for him, and tries to call it a day. Shaun Wade tries to talk him into staying. Unsuccessfully. Jabrill Peppers tries his hand at it. No luck there, either. He decides to come back, but takes a knee on the sidelines and not practice. Player personnel director Matt Groh offers his counsel while the rest of the team works on getting ready for the season. Am I missing anything?
I understand it's 2023 now, and we all have to be more understanding than we were say, 30 years ago when Jimmy Johnson was telling a kicker who couldn't run due to his asthma, "The asthma field is over there!" and cutting his ass on the spot:
We can't begin to know what's bugging Jack Jones to the point he's on his third football program and been suspended by all three. And now has walked off the practice field in a snit. A field, it should be pointed out, that has been consecrated with the blood, sweat and snot of guys like Troy Brown, Tedy Bruschi, Joe Andruzzi, Vince Wilfork, Ty Law, Devin McCourty and Julian Edelman. Just to name a tiny fraction of absolute warriors who never once walked off the field when there was work to be done. Hell, Logan Mankins once played an entire season on a knee that had a torn ACL and MCL, and never mentioned it, much less quit in the middle of practice. For sure none of those guys would have considered shutting it down for the day because somebody or something upset them. And they have the rings to show for it. Nor can you imagine them being able to understand some second year teammate doing likewise.
Still, Jones is a young guy. And deserving of some benefit of the doubt, I suppose. Clearly people are trying to help him and give him guidance. Maybe there's a perfectly good explanation as to why Wade, Peppers and Groh all had to take turns talking him down off the proverbial ledge over a practice rep gone slightly wrong. It's possible he's got some larger issue and legitimately needs the extra attention. But in a short period of time, he's had a lot of benefits of many, many doubts. We're quickly getting to the point where there's going to be no more breaks left for him. And it's going to be his turn to hit the asthma field.