The 2017 season could be make-or-break for T.J. Jones
T.J. Jones was born in Winnipeg Manitoba, Canada. His godfather is Raghib “Rocket” Ismail. he attended Gainsville High School in Gainsville Georgia. He garnered recognition as a maxreps.com second-team all-American. Jones earned all-state honors and won a state championship during his senior season. He committed to Stanford, but changed his mind, attending Notre Dame. There he played as a true freshman, starting seven games. He remained a starter for the rest of his college career but did not break out as a receiver until his senior season. Jones nearly doubled his career receiving yardage with his 70 catch, 1108 yard senior season. He had five 100-yard catch games and scored in seven straight games. Where he made his greatest mark during his collegiate career was as a return man. He averaged 7.6 yards per punt return in his senior year. He was invited to the East-West Shrine game
Jones earned an invitation to the East-West Shrine game but could not attend because of an injury that would define his early professional career. He suffered a shoulder injury in the final game of his collegiate career. The uncertainty regarding his shoulder injury caused him to slip to the sixth round, where he was selected by the Lions.
T.J. Jones’ Professional Career
Jones missed his entire rookie season because of nerve damage caused by the shoulder injury. He had tried to gut it out and play through the pain, but eventually, he found it impossible to continue. As he began his second season, the nerve damage was still affecting him. He was still having difficulty catching balls over his shoulders but was able to field kicks well enough to contribute on special teams. He finished the season as the Lions primary return man and even made ten catches on offense.
In 2016 Jones lost his return duties to Andre Roberts. He also lost his role as a receiver. Bob Quinn enhanced the team’s depth at the receiver position and Jones found himself on the outside looking in. He began the year on the practice squad but made his way back to the active roster for the final three games of the season.
T.J. Jones’ outlook for making the 2017 roster is not great. with Quinn again having brought in a group of similarly talented receivers to see which will rise to the challenge and make the team. If he can prove himself the best returner on the roster he has as good a chance as anyone else in camp to nab the job. If Jones makes the team it will be as the final receiver on the roster. He is unlikely to make any impact on offense in 2017. With the loss of Anquan Boldin and Andre Roberts from a deep receiving group, there are positions there for anyone to grab. This could be the year Jones reaches his potential or the year that the Lions cut ties completely.