Julio Jones is unsure if he will play in the Atlanta Falcons’ Week 1 match against the Minnesota Vikings as his contract talks drag on.
Wide receiver Jones, who is set to earn $9.6million in 2019, has two years left on the five-year deal worth $71m he signed in 2015, but the expectation has long been that he will have fresh terms in place before Atlanta opens the regular season.
The Falcons star – who noted he experienced some soreness in practice – began his media availability on Thursday by saying the negotiations were going great, then placed his potential involvement on Sunday in doubt.
When asked if he would definitely play, Jones said: “I don’t know. I mean, like, what I’m trying to do right now is be ready.
“If I’m gonna play, if I’m not gonna play, I’m trying to be out there regardless. Coming back from injury and things like that. But the ultimate thing is just being ready when my number is called.”
Julio Jones discussed his contract situation and his availability for Sunday in Minnesota. pic.twitter.com/Cc8BOUBaYw
— Atlanta Falcons (@AtlantaFalcons) September 5, 2019
Falcons owner Arthur Blank assured this week that the team is “very, very close” to finalising a deal with Jones.
“I’d be surprised and disappointed if we didn’t get it done this week,” said Blank. “I think it’s very reasonable to assume it will get done this week.”
Jones, 30, had 113 catches for a league-leading 1,677 receiving yards to go with eight touchdowns last season.