The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Former combine star issues warning
This week’s annual Scouting Combine offered the NFL the chance to relive on social media some breakout performances over the years, including a then-record-setting broad jump by Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones that it called “CRAZY.”
Jones, now a 30-year-old veteran, took note of the league’s promotion, writing on social media that the NFL career his jump helped spawn came at a cost.
“Much has changed in 8 years. Today I can’t run or jump because of my injuries sustained playing this game,” he wrote on Twitter.
A first-round draft pick (27th overall out of Connecticut) by the Dallas Cowboys in 2015, he cautioned other players about the injections and pills required to stay on the field.
“DO NOT take the pills they give you. DO NOT take the injections they give you. If you absolutely must, consult an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications,” Jones wrote. “It was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee. In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities. Godspeed to the draft class of 2023.”
Jones, who signed with the Dolphins as a free agent in 2020, spent the 2022 season on Miami’s physically unable to perform list after having surgery last March. ESPN reported at the time that he was expected to be ready for training camp, but he was never activated. It isn’t entirely clear what injuries Jones is referring to, but he has had ankle issues and surgery for an Achilles’ injury. He did not specify what pills or injections he was referring to.
Jones, who was voted second-team all-pro by the Associated Press in 2018, is facing an uncertain NFL future. The Miami Herald reported that he is not retiring although the “general expectation” is that he will be cut since his non-guaranteed salary is $13.5 million. If he were to retire, he’d potentially owe the Dolphins $4.2 million in signing bonus money received in 2020. The Herald also quoted an unnamed source saying that there was no pending lawsuit over how his injuries were handled.
Jones was the NFL’S highest-paid cornerback when he signed a five-year, $82.5 million deal, with $57 million guaranteed, in 2020. He played in 30 games in Miami, with 95 tackles, two interceptions and 14 pass deflections.
After the season ended, Dolphins general manager Chris Grier said Jones “did everything he could to try and play so no qualms with that at all” but didn’t say whether Jones would continue to play or be in Miami in 2023.
“The season just ended. We’re not there yet,” Grier said following Miami’s wildcard playoff loss to the Buffalo Bills. “After the tough loss yesterday, we’re kind of licking our wounds and just going about our process and we’ll meet with the coaching staff here, trainers and doctors to talk about every player on the roster.”
Neither the Dolphins nor the NFL have commented on Jones’ tweets.