The Atlanta Falcons shocked many when they traded away star wide receiver Julio Jones to the Tennessee Titans. Behind the scenes, Falcons owner Arthur Blank was not all too pleased with the move.
Jones reportedly requested a trade over the offseason after 10 seasons with the Falcons. Instead of engaging in a trade standoff with the seven-time Pro Bowler, the Falcons front office granted his request by sending him off to the Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick.
Following the trade, Blank released a statement where he thanked Jones for his memorable time in Atlanta. However, Blank had other feelings about the blockbuster trade.
Speaking at a press conference during training camp on Thursday, the Falcons owner reflected on the trade and revealed his true thoughts on Jones’ trade demand:
“Julio [Jones] made it clear that he had certain aspirations and wanted to do it someplace else,” Blank said. “That was not our original intent. That’s the message that we got from the player and human being as well. He gave us 10 great years, which is about half of my ownership. He set all kinds of records, but the time was right for him to move on.
“The part that bothered me personally was the fact that he expressed that he wanted to be traded. We had a 10-year relationship. We had a good relationship. He was productive, a Hall-of-Fame player, and I was disappointed he felt that way. For whatever reasons, I’m not sure, I wasn’t able to speak with him. I tried to, but he felt the way he felt and he wanted to make a change.”
Jones finished his run in Atlanta with multiple records, including the most receptions (848) and most receiving yards (12,896) in team history.
For now, the Falcons will rely on Calvin Ridley to be their new No. 1 wide receiver for starting quarterback Matt Ryan. Ridley may not go on to mirror the production that Jones posted during his prime days with the Falcons, but he does have what it takes to become a perennial Pro Bowl-caliber wide receiver.
Meanwhile, Jones will be looking to help the Titans pull off another deep run in the AFC.