Returning to the team Monday after serving his one-game suspension, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones said he’s eager to ignite a spark.
And he’s not waiting until Thursday’s game against Houston.
Jones said one of the things that bothered him most while watching the Bengals fall to Baltimore 20-0 in Sunday’s season opener was that a few of his teammates were helping Ravens get up after plays.
“I’m not big in helping nobody up, and I have friends that play on other teams,” Jones said. “But especially when we’re losing. I’m definitely not when we’re winning, I’m really not when we’re losing. The competitive edge, you just have to keep it up at a high level, and realize that everybody’s playing for jobs.
“I ain’t saying play nasty or nothing,” Jones clarified. “I’m just saying you ain’t got to help nobody up. You hit them and you run back to the huddle. Is there something wrong with that?”
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Asked if he had talked to his teammates about it, Jones said he hadn’t.
“But it will be held before Thursday,” he said. “Trust me. I can promise you.”
Jones, who has appeared in 78 of a possible 80 games since 2011, said watching Sunday’s game on television was a strange experience.
“It was very odd, especially when you’re still playing at a high level and you know you can help your teammates out,” he said. “But I put myself in this situation. I’ve already apologized to my teammates, Mr. Brown (team owner and president Mike Brown), all of my coaches. Now it’s back to the basics, helping my team try to win a game.”
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While his teammates are dealing with overcoming the regular bumps and bruises absorbed in a game — starting cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick was in a walking boot Monday after getting stepped on Sunday but said he will play Thursday — in quick fashion for a Thursday night game, Jones said he’s healthy and eager to play.
“I’m in shape. I’m ready to go,” he said. “I feel good, besides emotionally what I went through this Sunday. At the end of the day you can look at it and teach yourself and move on.
“I’m just being positive,” he added. “I’m here to help my teammates. It’s not about me. It’s obviously going to take everybody to win the game. But I do do a good job of initiating a fire and getting the guys going and play with a little bit more edge.”
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Thursday will mark the third year in a row the Bengals have faced Houston in a nationally televised game. The Texans won 12-10 in Houston on Christmas Eve last year. And they came to PBS and beat the Bengals 10-6 on a Monday night in 2015.
DeAndre Hopkins scored the game-winning touchdown on a 22-yard reception with Jones draped all over him.
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Jones bristled when asked if that’s a play that has stuck with him.
“No. He’s caught one pass on me in the last three years. Why would it stick in my mind,” he said. “Do the numbers. How many yards has he had on me. He caught one pass.
“The kid’s a good receiver,” Jones continued. “He just got paid $100 million. But besides that pass, what has he done? So we’ll see how it goes. He’s one of the best. I love competing against him. But that play is nowhere near on my mind. My mind is only set to win the game and make sure I’m playing with confidence and play smart.”
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Jones also allowed a 13-yard catch by Hopkins in that game in addition to a pair of short 4-yarders with Jones in coverage. Last year, the two traded pass interference calls in the third quarter.
Hopkins is likely to have rookie quarterback DeShaun Watson throwing to him Thursday after the No. 12 overall pick replaced Tom Savage in the Texans’ 29-7 loss to Jacksonville on Sunday.
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Jones said it doesn’t matter whose passes he will be defending. He’s excited to get back on the field.
“I’m just eager for the challenge for the group to see how we’re going to respond after Sunday,” he said. “We’ve been in this situation before. Thursday is a night when the whole country is watching. This is a game you live and dream for as a little kid. I’m probably sure they’re going to be on the edge over there coming off the loss they had, but we’ll be ready to go. It’s our second game at home. We need a win.”
Houston Texans (0-1) vs. Cincinnati Bengals (0-1)
When: 8:25 p.m. Thursday
Where: Paul Brown Stadium
TV: NFL Network, Ch. 5
Radio: 700-AM, 1530-AM, 102.7-FM, 104.7-FM