It's been a long wait for Arthur Jones, who has been training in prepartion to join an NFL team for the past seven months. Now, he'll have his opportunity with the Redskins as they travel to Seattle.
Since defensive lineman Arthur Jones signed with the Redskins earlier this week, he hasn't stopped smiling.
"I smile a lot," Jones said. "A couple teammates make fun of me for having a big smile, but that's me. I'm going to keep smiling."
Check out these photos of the Redskins' defense and special teams preparing for their Week 9 game against the Seattle Seahawks Thursday, Nov, 2 2017, at the Inova Sports Performance Center at Redskins Park.
That smile is just slightly bigger thanks to his newest opportunity. The Redskins needed a defensive lineman desperately after losing Jonathan Allen a few weeks ago and then Matt Ioannidis, another impact interior player, to a hand fracture on Sunday.
Jones, 31, in his eighth NFL season out of Syracuse, split time with the Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts and will now be tasked with filling some of that void.
"Right now I'm worried about getting myself, mentally, physically, emotionally ready to play Sunday," Jones said. "Embrace every day, taking notes, getting myself ready. I'm a very positive person, I'm a very optimistic person and I'm excited to be here."
Out of football since last winter, Jones was cut by the Colts in March and had been training in Indianapolis waiting for an opportunity. He was dealing with a sports hernia and had surgery before NFL training camp began, but didn't receive any calls from teams as the season came into focus.
But Jones never lost faith, and this week he was rewarded.
Helping his transition is veteran defensive lineman Ziggy Hood, who shares the same financial adviser, as well as defensive coordinator Greg Manusky, whom Jones played under with the Colts when he joined the team in 2014. Knowing the generalities of the defensive scheme gives him an advantage, he said.
"It helps out a lot," Jones said. "There's still stuff that I'm learning, I'm trying to pick it up fast as I can getting myself ready to play this week and try to be an impact, just not another guy out there, try to bring something to the defense, bring some excitement and be myself, go out there and have fun, stay loose and just really embrace it. I may cry out there. It's been a long road to get back, I just kept the faith and kept fighting and now I'm back in the mix. I know I'm ready. I'm confident and excited to have fun with my new brothers."
In total, Jones has collected 173 tackles with 10 sacks and two forced fumbles in 63 career games. After spending the entire 2015 season on Injured Reserve due to an ankle injury, Jones returned to the field in 2016 and started in all eight of his appearances, recording 30 tackles.
"He kind of knows the system a little bit," Manusky said Thursday. "[He's] been around it for a couple years when I was in Indy, so from that standpoint it's good for him from a learning standpoint. Right now, he's just trying to get into shape – get back into football shape. He's looking pretty good right now and I'm excited to see what he can do."
Jones is maybe best associated with his brothers, Jon Jones, the acclaimed UFC fighter, and Chandler Jones, an outside linebacker for the Arizona Cardinals. Arthur has stayed close with both of them, going on fishing trips in Miami with Jon and seeing Chandler play on the weekends in Phoenix.
"We all go through rough things, we all have our own roller coasters, football and life," Jones said. "Family is all you got. When you got that, it's all the riches in the world."
As for his few days of preparation, Jones feels prepared to make an impact on the field in Seattle, knowing it will be a rewarding day when he straps on his pads.
"It's a brand new start," Jones said. "It's a brand new team. I'm finally healthy. It's a positive environment; I feel the love and the energy of my teammates, coaches. There's nothing but good things that happen when you have that vibe and energy."