Sports

Falcons coach deflects questions on Jones’ future

Atlanta Falcons coach Arthur Smith did not want to talk about star receiver Julio Jones on Tuesday.

He did not want to talk about speculation that Jones, who said “I’m outta there” in a telephone call with FS1 on Monday, would be traded after June 1.

He did not want to talk about whether Jones asked for a trade earlier this year and whether things could be reconciled between the franchise’s all-time leader in catches and yards and the franchise itself.

“Any private conversation that I have with our players is going to remain private on my end,” Smith said. “And I’m not going to sit here and comment on any potential roster moves that we may or may not make.”

Most of Smith’s 16-minute media session went like this: Questions about Julio Jones asked, questions about Julio Jones deflected or not answered.

Smith did say he encourages his players to speak their minds when asked about Jones’ Monday comments. He also didn’t have much to say about photos surfacing of Jones wearing a Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt recently. Smith said he didn’t see it (the photos made the rounds on social media recently), but that players can wear what they want.

He did say the Falcons do have a plan going forward. Does that plan include Jones? He would not say whether they have plans with and without Jones, just that they have different options to get under the salary cap before training camp.

“Anytime you’re in this business, you’ve got to have multiple plans,” Smith said. “We understand what our cap situation is and we have multiple plans before we get into training camp.”

Smith did say, though, that Jones has had access to everything the other players have had that are on the roster, including playbooks and meetings.

Smith did say he has “so much respect” for what Jones has done in Atlanta and for the Falcons. But he wouldn’t say much about whether what Jones has done in the past will continue in the future.

“This is a tough business,” Smith said. “We all signed up for it, players and coaches, we understand that. Everything we do here is going to be well thought out and it’s going to be handled behind the scenes with dignity with the players.

“As long as I’m here, that’s the way it’ll be done. We understand the business that we’re in. Every player here is treated with dignity.”

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