In relationships, trust is foundational to keeping a dynamic healthy.
When it gets broken, things can get messy. Even if a relationship survives a breach of that all-important mutual commitment, what comes after may look different.
The Kansas City Chiefs have patched things up after a rocky few months with star defensive tackle Chris Jones — but will things ever truly be the same?
After an entire offseason, training camp and opening week holding out for a market-setting long-term contract extension, Jones has come back to the Chiefs after his agents settled for a restructured one-year deal with general manager Brett Veach.
The four-time All-Pro pass rusher spoke with reporters for the first time since returning to the team.
You can watch Chris Jones’s full press conference in the video player above.
Despite the awkward, back-with-your-ex energy, at his Wednesday press conference, Jones insisted that his holdout wasn’t a messy one.
“Listen, I’m happy to be back — okay. The business aspect, you can’t get personal into it. When you get personal, things can turn bad, you know what I mean? I never took it personally,” Jones said.
The defensive tackle insisted that fans and reporters had misconstrued the contract dispute. Jones was adamant that there was never any animosity between himself and the team.
“I wouldn’t probably change it, but I’m grateful for how it turned out,” Jones said. “I’m grateful for the Hunt Family, (General Manager) Brett Veach, and (Head) Coach (Andy) Reid for working with my team closely to make sure we ensure that we come to terms with something that we can both agree on.”
He said that still has love for both head coach Andy Reid and Veach in the front office, who he texted and kept in touch with throughout the process — even sharing memes with them both in a group chat about him staying in shape while away from the team.
When asked if he was in shape, Jones kept that playful attitude going.
“I don’t know. We’re about to find out!” Jones said with a laugh, getting ready to head out to his first full practice.
In the past, Jones has said that he hopes to be a Chief for life, or at least for his entire NFL career. Although he didn’t want to discuss what his future with the team looked like, he told reporters that is still his goal.
“I have reiterated multiple times I plan to play for the Kansas City Chiefs for the long haul of my career. That doesn’t change because of this past situation,” Jones said.
From the outside looking in, it’s impossible not to wonder if the holdout is a sign of future cracks in the relationship between the team and Jones. The team’s 2022 sack leader (15.5) will now certainly face the franchise tag and another negotiation during the 2024 offseason.
A boisterous and friendly personality beloved by Chiefs fans both on and off the field, Jones lost some of the goodwill he had earned across his seven seasons, 65 sacks, 65 tackles for loss and 146 pressures with the team by extending his holdout into the regular season.
In return, the Chiefs shattered the illusion of permanent commitment to Jones when they appeared hesitant to dole out a market-setting third contract to the 30-year-old defensive star.
Despite being unable to leverage his holdout into a lucrative new deal, Jones said he had no regrets about his time away from the team and was happy with the new incentives that ultimately prompted his return.
However, Jones did briefly express that he wished he had done a few things differently. Specifically, he noted that with so much turnover on the defensive line, he hasn’t had much time to build chemistry with his new teammates.
“I probably would change some things. When you have a lot of new guys, it’s kind of tough to be away.” Jones said. “Especially in the D-Line room, building that chemistry is important to be successful as a group. But, those are the decisions you have to live with.”
At the end of the day, Jones and the Chiefs are back together. The power couple is now focused on returning to the Super Bowl and the Jacksonville Jaguars.
While promises and words can help. It’s ultimately actions that determine a relationship.
It’s hard to think of a better I’m sorry, than a motivated uber-talented pass rusher chasing a Defensive Player of the Year Award in a contract year.