Jones expresses remorse after being chaged with drug possession
The ones he got Friday were much, much different.
Jones, speaking publicly for the first time since his arrest on a felony drug charge in Arkansas, expressed remorse for putting himself and the Jaguars in a negative light. He also apologized to team owner Wayne Weaver, coach Jack Del Rio and some teammates, and said he was committed to making the roster.
"I'm embarrassed for Mr. and Mrs. Weaver, coach Del Rio and my teammates, and even the fans of Jacksonville," Jones said on the eve of training camp. "It's not good, but I really can't comment on it right now until all the things are settled in the courts and everything."
Jones was arrested July 10 in Fayetteville, his former college town, after police said he was inside a car cutting up cocaine with a credit card.
Jones' father, Steve, has denied the cocaine was in his son's possession. He acknowledged that it was in the vehicle and in "closest proximity to Matt."
His arraignment on a charge of felony possession of a controlled substance was set for Aug. 11, two days after Jacksonville's preseason opener against Atlanta.
Jones dodged several questions about the case Friday. He insisted, though, that he doesn't have a drug problem.
"The best thing is to just answer questions on the season and on the team, and not really questions about stuff like that right now," he added.
Jones had been considered a long shot to make the team -- even before his arrest. Jacksonville signed Jerry Porter to a six-year, $30 million contract in February and traded for former first-round pick Troy Williamson.
The Jaguars also expect big things from Mike Walker, a third-round pick in 2007 who missed all of last season while recovering from a knee injury. Throw in last year's starters Reggie Williams and Dennis Northcutt, and the Jaguars seemingly have little, if any, room for Jones.
But things may have changed Friday.
The Jaguars planned to put Porter on the physically unable to perform list and said Williams would miss at least the first few days of camp because of a sprained right knee.
The injuries could open the door for Jones, who caught 101 passes for 1,392 yards and 13 touchdowns in his first three seasons.
"I think every year the players have to come out and have to earn their spots on the team, and I don't see any difference this year," Jones said. "You always have something to prove going into camp. ... You make mistakes and it's how you overcome them. And that's what we're going to try to do is just get into camp and worry about making a spot on the team."
Teammates supported Jones as they arrived for the first team meeting Friday.
"He's a man, just like all of us. We're all human," running back Fred Taylor said. "We all make mistakes. The thing is, you can't do it twice. That's my teammate. As long as he's my teammate, I'm going to support him. I spoke to him. He said he apologized for letting people down. He feels bad about what happened, but it's time to focus on football.
"My job as a veteran guy is to keep him away from distractions and talk to him and say, 'That's done with. It's in the past.' It's going to be handled by the law, one, [NFL commissioner Roger] Goodell, two, and the organization, three."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press