Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones has rejoined his team after agreeing to the terms of an incentive-heavy, one-year contract to replace the year he had left on his remaining deal.
“I’m super pleased with how it turned out,” Jones said Wednesday shortly before a Chiefs practice. “I’m back in the building. I’m excited to be back, thankful for the organization. They [were] able to boost my salary up to make up for the fines and everything. I’m super grateful for that.”
Jones sat out of Thursday’s season opener against the Detroit Lions as part of his holdout due to a contract dispute. But Jones appears to have taken some time reflect on how he approached the holdout, saying if the situation came up in the future he would probably do things differently.
“When you have a lot of new guys, it’s kind of tough to be away, especially in the defensive line room,” said Jones, who was back at practice two days after agreeing to a reworked one-year deal that could amount to a raise if certain incentives are hit.
“These are the decisions you have to live with,” he continued. “I would change it, but I’m grateful for how it turned out.”
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While Jones stopped short of offering specifics, he appears eager to help the Chiefs get back on the winning track this weekend.
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Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Jones will likely be on the field for some snaps during Sunday’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“He’s an important part of it, and you know, I’m glad he’s back. We’ll just see where he’s at physically as we go,” Reid said. “He normally keeps himself in pretty good shape. We’ll see how he does out there.”
Being in a Chiefs uniform will be far different from Jones’ experience on Thursday night when he was sitting in a suite and watching his teammates celebrate their latest Super Bowl victory. Jones said he spent much of the game “biting my nails” and feeling like the other fans jammed into Arrowhead Stadium.
“It all felt crazy,” Jones said. “First time I ever sat in my suite. I see what I pay so much money for. Food was amazing. But it was a different viewpoint. I could see from a fan’s viewpoint how stressful it is.”
As contract negotiations dragged on, Jones racked up millions in fines for missing mandatory minicamp, training camp and the preseason. He also forfeited his Week 1 game check.
Jones said his reworked contract allows him to recoup the fines, but he did not discuss the details of it. He also said that he would not continue negotiations during the season but was open to revisiting them once it is complete.
“I don’t want to go back and forth during the season,” Jones said. “My focus right now is being the best me I can be for this team; being the best player on this defense, the best player in the league. Anything less than that is a disappointment to myself.”
Jones also said he wasn’t necessarily trying to become the league’s highest-paid defensive tackle. That honor currently belongs to Los Angeles Rams star Aaron Donald.
“Not at all,” he said. “Is it important to be the best at my position? Absolutely.” Jones is coming off a career-high 15.5-sack season.
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Two-time NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes expressed excitement about having Jones back in the locker room.
“Happy to have him. Chris is not only a great player but a great person in the locker room,” Mahomes said. “Always has a smile on his face. Like I said early in training camp, whenever he gets back here, we’re going to welcome him with open arms, and now we’re going to try to get out there and get a win.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.