Jones not worried about kidney issue

Jones not worried about kidney issue
May 14, 2013, 2:00 pm
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FOXBORO -- If you’re compiling a list of Patriot-killing receivers, it might take you a while before you get to Donald Jones. If you ever do.
 
But over the past three seasons with the Bills, Jones played in four games against New England and caught 18 balls for 319 yards.
 
So when the Bills decided not to tender Jones an offer as a restricted free agent this offseason, the Patriots pounced before someone else did.
 
Why would Buffalo untether a receiver who had success against the division’s King Kong? Jones has a kidney disorder that forced the Bills to shut down Jones’ 2012 season after 12 games. A team source told me in March that the Bills didn’t feel comfortable moving forward with Jones. The Patriots, meanwhile, do.
 
“My journey to get here has been long,” Jones said Tuesday afternoon at Gillette Stadium. “I’m going into my fourth year. I played well against the Patriots the last few years and I’m sure Coach [Bill] Belichick took that into consideration when looking at me.”
 
Jones, wearing a navy blue Patriots sweatshirt, blue shorts and compression pants, spent about 13 minutes speaking candidly with about 20 media members at noontime. The Patriots media relations staff is making players available individually a couple of times a week during offseason training activities.
 
But Jones was tight-lipped on Tuesday about the condition that landed him on IR, as he was when the Bills shut him down.
 
“I’m happy to be here now,” he said. “I can’t concentrate on that. I gotta come out here and work hard every day. I can’t think about what’s happened in the past with my health. I just come out here and work hard."
 
When pressed, Jones answered, “I don’t want to go into that from last year. It’s the past. I’m here working now. I’m healthy. I work every day with the team doctors here and the team trainers. I’m healthy enough to be out here and that’s really all I pay attention to.”
 
Speaking to the Buffalo News last December after being placed on injured reserve, Jones said, "Going from having really the best season that I've had in the league to this now, it's definitely something that I didn't want to have to go through. But that initial impact is done now. So now it's just moving forward. I've got to go home and get right and get everything healthy and get back on the field and be strong for everybody."

At that time, Jones said the condition was “not career-threatening at all” and was something he’d been “dealing with for years.”

Jones entered the league as an undrafted free agent out of Youngstown State. The learning curve he’s encountering with the Patriots is the steepest he’s seen.

“Here, the playbook is a lot more difficult than anywhere I’ve been. Youngstown was easy, a simple college playbook,” said Jones. “Buffalo, it got harder but once you get it, you get it. Here, they keep you on your toes and switch a lot of things up week-to-week. You gotta be on your 1s and 2s and paying attention to what they’re saying because if you get up there and mess it up, either you’re on the bench or (Tom Brady’s) not throwing to you. You just have to be in your playbook at all times and make sure you’re studying.”
 
To hear Jones explain it, the difficulty is in the verbiage.
 
“Some systems are digit systems. Some systems are concept based. For some guys it’s hard to make the transition from a digit system to concept-based to West Coast,” he explained. “This playbook is very complex and if you’re not studying at all times, you won’t be able to retain it because they’re always switching things up.”
 
With a fleet of new targets in the passing game, Jones is not along in trying to assimilate.
 
“Everybody’s new,” he noted. “Everybody’s working together to learn the playbook together. Everybody’s coming in at the same level.”
 
Jones hopes the level he experiences in New England trumps what he’s been accustomed to.
 
“I want to win. I haven’t been on a winning team for three years,” he stressed. “That’s my biggest thing is to win. I work hard for my son (two-year-old Kiion, named for Donald Jones’ older brother who died as an infant), my family back home. I work hard for this team. As far as all of this stuff with my health, it’s not really on my mind.”