Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones, who’s being held out of the offseason program, has found other ways to contribute to the team.
Jones, an intense obverser at the OTA session on Thursday, is not expected to return from offseason foot surgery until training camp in late July.
“He’s another set of eyes for us,” quarterback Matt Ryan said. “He’s so smart. He’s been around so long and he’s really good at connecting with the younger guys and explaining how to do certain things.”
Jones turned in another spectacular season with 83 catches for 1,409 yards and six touchdown catches in 2016. He was slowed throughout the season by a turf toe injury, foot and shoulder ailments. He missed only two games while fighting through the injuries.
In the playoffs, Jones has 19 catches for 334 yards and three touchdowns. He made a spectacular catch in Super Bowl LI to move the Falcons to the 22-yard with 4:40 to play.
Jones stays with the wide receivers when they break down into individual drills.
“He can help in ways that I can’t,” Ryan said. “He can help those guys at the wide receiver position that nobody else can. He’s been through it. He understands how to be the absolute best at his position. You can see when he talks they absorb everything that he says.”