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Chiefs DT Chris Jones nonchalant after dominant performance at Jacksonville

Chris Jones Jacksomville
Posted at 8:27 PM, Sep 17, 2023
and last updated 2023-09-17 21:27:27-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Chris Jones hadn’t participated in any meaningful football activities since helping the Kansas City Chiefs win Super Bowl LVII seven months earlier when he returned to practice Wednesday after a contract holdout.

If he was rusty, exhausted or otherwise struggling, Jones didn’t show an inkling of it in a game-altering performance.

“Looked like the 9-5 that I know,” said tight end Travis Kelce, who returned from injury for the Chiefs’ 17-9 win against the Jaguars.

Jones, who was a finalist for NFL Defensive Player of the Year after matching his career-high with 15 1/2 sacks last season, finished with 1 1/2 sacks, two quarterback hits and a critical pass defended.

“Chris, crazy — just to be able to make that impact on a game after not being in training camp,” quarterback Patrick Mahomes said. “You can work out as much as you want off the field, but to be able to come to Jacksonville, where it’s hot and humid, and just dominate against a great team. It’s special. It truly is special, and I’m glad he’s on my team.”

For his part, Jones was nonchalant, saying he treated his return as “just another game.”

“That’s what I’m here for, especially plays like that,” Jones said. “When my number’s called, I tried to answer that. We’re going to try to pick up where we left off.”

After training in Miami while away from the Chiefs throughout the offseason, including training camp, Jones said not even the heat, which approached 115 degrees on the field, bothered him.

“I figured he’d be able to play about a half a game,” Kansas City coach Andy Reid said. “We shuttled him in and out. He did a great job.”

Reid said Jones moved well at practice and showed some endurance during the week, “so I felt comfortable that he would go in and be able to do his thing. Maybe not to that level, but that was a heckuva job by him.”

When Jones returned to practice after the protracted absence, Kelce made a point to enthusiastically greet the All-Pro defensive tackle.

“I just wanted to make sure that he felt that he’s every bit a part of this from the jump, like he’s always been,” Kelce said. “I love that guy. Sometimes, contracts and things like that can get in the way — or, at least the media can portray somebody to be something that they’re not. But I just wanted to make sure that he knew that we were happy as hell to get him back out there on the field and in the building. Just his energy is needed.”