Marvin Jones Jr. was reluctant to leave the West Coast in free agency, but something about the Detroit Lions just felt right.
When Marvin Jones Jr. first began considering free agency, returning to the Midwest wasn’t high on his priority list. His family had just moved back west to better weather and a more familiar environment. Back in the cold Michigan weather, on his roof, he didn’t look so inviting.
But there was a deep feeling in Jones Jr. — call it a premonition or a destiny — that drew him like a tractor beam to the Detroit Lions he had played for only three years.
“I always had something—you could ask my son here—something in me was like, ‘I think I could go back to Detroit.'” I don’t know. We’ll see,” Jones Jr. explained during his introductory press conference on Wednesday.
Of course, lions played a huge role in this as well. According to Jones Jr., they made it clear very early in the free agency process that they were interested in bringing him back. It helped that Detroit was headed to the top—something Jones Jr. saw firsthand as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars When the Lions handily defeated them 40-14 last year.
“In the movie you see it. You see a good team, a well-coached team,” Jones Jr. said. “And when they don’t make mistakes, mistakes will end in winning. There is a lot of talent. That’s all I can say.”
So Jones Jr. checked in with the family—who would stay on the West Coast but travel to Detroit for every home game—and after getting the go-ahead, Jones signed with the Lions. He never considered any team other than the West Coast in free agency.
And even though he’s only spent a few hours in Detroit since re-signing, he could already see a difference in the organization of just 32-47-1 when he was here the first time around.
“The organization is different, the culture, things like that,” said Jones Jr. “It’s a team that’s clearly done some great things and can continue to do great things and make a push. That was definitely intriguing.”
It will likely be a different turn from the first time here. In five seasons, Jones Jr. was Detroit’s primarily WR2 and averaged 859 yards and 7.2 touchdowns per season. Now Jones Jr. will enter a reception room already crammed with it Pro Bowl Amon Ra St. Brown, 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams, and Josh Reynolds — all of whom helped create a top-five offense in Detroit last season.
Jones Jr., who turned 33 last month, knows he will have to not only compete for a role in this offense, but to set an example for the young Detroit parlor.
“Everyone knows how I work. I think that’s something people can take away from me,” Jones Jr. said. “She’s like, ‘Hey, Army, how old is this guy or has he been in the league how long?’” And I still took off. I still do the same things I need to do to be great. In the past, and I think my entire career has screwed up a lot of the receivers or players, in general, on the team. I think that’s what I’m going to do. I’ll go out there and compete.”
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