Julio Jones will play his first game at Merceds Benz Stadium in over a year — but he’ll be wearing crimson and pewter when he does
Last offseason, the Atlanta Falcons, who traded up 21 picks in the 2011 NFL draft to claim the standout flanker from Alabama, traded him to the Tennessee Titans as part of an impending rebuild.
After an injury plagued 2020 season which undoubtedly contributed tot he Falcons decision to move on from their all-time leading receiver, Jones played 10 largely unremarkable games for Tennessee in 2021, before being released this past March.
From 2011 through 2020 with the Falcons, the top-flight wide receiver caught for over 1,000 yards in seven of those seasons, helping Atlanta to one of the most successful and celebrated decades in franchise history.
Jones also led the NFL in receiving in both 2015 and 2018. The 12,896 years he accumulated during that span was enough to surpass the team’s previous all-time leading receiver, Roddy White.
After his release from the Titans, many had hoped he would either join the Indianapolis Colts to reunite with Matt Ryan, who was traded there shortly after the end of the Falcons disappointing 2021 campaign, or return to Atlanta to finish what he started, catching passes from newly acquired signal caller, Marcus Mariota.
Instead, after signing a year deal with the Buccaneers, he joins Tom Brady, he reunites with his former teammate Russell Gage, and joins one of the best receiving corps, and possibly one of the best teams in the NFL.
For falcons fans, there’s no doubt that Jone’s January 8, 2023, return to Mercedes Benz Stadium will be bittersweet, regardless of who wins the game.
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