Saturday, February 6, 2016

Donnie Jones happy to be 'home'

Players who sign new contracts generally are pretty happy, but for veteran punter Donnie Jones, the chance to settle in somewhere really was important.

Donnie Jones happy to be 'home'

Eagles punter Donnie Jones. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)
Eagles punter Donnie Jones. (Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Donnie Jones has worked on one-year contracts the past two seasons, in Houston and then in Philadelphia, so Jones was really glad to get a three-year deal with the Eagles this week, which will pay him up to $6 million.

Jones said the Eagles organization and Philadelphia were the best NFL fit he's ever had.

"For the first time in 10 years, I really felt part of a family," said the Eagles' punter, who turns 34 in July and will embark on his 11th NFL season. "It's very good to be back," he said.

The Eagles made two more moves to shore up their erratic special teams Tuesday, bringing in former Seattle safety Chris Maragos and ex-Houston linebacker Brandon Braman as free-agent signings.

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Jones played with Braman in Houston and called him "a war daddy, man ... when I think special teams and special-teamers, I think Brandon Braman."

Because Jones played here last year under a one-year deal for the veteran minimum, he couldn't sign anything more than another such contract until the start of free agency. Jones had a pretty good idea he would be returning -- the team was quite happy with his franchise-best 40.4-yard net, his NFL-best 27 punts that weren't returned, and his 33 punts downed inside the 20 (also a franchise record). But he had to wait more than two months from the end of the season to be sure.

"There's always uncertainty until something finally gets done," Jones said. He said management and agent Drew Rosenhaus "were able to get things worked out pretty quickly" once they were officially allowed to talk, on Saturday.

"To be standing here really feels good," said Jones, who felt he suffered under a stigma, having punted for dome teams the previous six seasons -- five in St. Louis, one in Houston. In 2013, "I proved something to (doubters), but I also think I proved something to myself," he said.

Jones said he would like to finish his career with the Eagles.

Staff Writer
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