Thomas Jones rattled off three consecutive 1,000-plus yard seasons in his time with the Jets and was coming off a career year when the Jets unceremoniously dumped him after the 2009 campaign.
So you'd think Jones will be pumped to prove the Jets made a mistake by cutting him loose, when the Chiefs pay a visit to MetLife Stadium on Sunday. But the Kansas City running back insists that's not the case.
"Some people look at it as an opportunity to be bitter or an opportunity to say when we play them again, I’m going to try to have a good game," Jones said this afternoon. "I don’t look at it like that. I look at every opportunity I’ve had in my life as a blessing."
Jones was let go in March of 2010 because the Jets didn't want to pay him a $3 million roster bonus on top of a $2.8 million base salary he was due. The Jets instead went after LaDainian Tomlinson, inking him to a two-year deal. Jones said he wasn't shocked by the move, even if he had posted 1,402 yards and 14 TDs.
"The business is a huge part of the NFL as well as football," Jones said, "and I wasn’t surprised because I knew what was possibly going to happen before the season started, and that’s why I didn’t go to the offseason program [in 2009] because I wanted to just secure my last year there. But it happened for a reason. I ended up out in Kansas City, I’m enjoying being out in Kansas City around my team and my teammates and the city."
He really enjoyed his final season here in 2009, though.
"I had a lot of fun that year," Jones said. "We went to the AFC Championship game and playing just in New York City and the buzz and everything that came with that. It was just a great, great experience. Something I’ll always remember."
Jones was very reflective on his time here in the metro area and is hopeful he'll be able to create another memory come Sunday: climbing higher up the NFL's career rushing charts. Jones is currently 24th with 10,438 yards and has his eyes on two people in particular.
"Oh yeah. I always have love for New York City and the New York Jets," he said. "It was just the great times that I had there, the great friendships that I made there. I think I need 11 yards to pass Tiki Barber and Eddie George on the all-time [rushing] list and that would be special for me, especially playing with Tiki in college and watching him in the pros and kind of growing up admiring him coming from Virginia and playing with him at Virginia.
"So coming back to New York and hopefully being able to do that as well, I mean that’s something special. So I look forward to it, seeing Coach Ryan and my running backs coach Anthony Lynn and Coach Schottenheimer and all those guys that I have great relationships with."