A very minor thing compared to the Chad Johnson crap we had to go through yesterday, but Levi Jones returned to the team Thursday after it was let out that he wouldn't mind the idea of being traded during the 2008 NFL Draft.
During the summer of 2006, the Bengals signed Levi to a six-year extension worth $40 million with $16.3 million in guaranteed money. Since then Jones has only played 21 of 32 games (18 starts) and started 2007, while still injured, very poorly. And about this time (off-season 2007 and on), Jones' agent Ken Zuckerman said that other teams would love to have Levi Jones because the Bengals were noncommittal about Jones starting the season as the starting left tackle (Jones didn't start the first three games). Jones was still recovering from a knee injury and the team didn't believe he was ready; Jones disputed that. To say that Jones hasn't given back to the team, after a stupid six-year deal that essentially eliminated Eric Steinbach's return, would be a severe understatement.
He was subsequently replaced against the Kansas City Chiefs after giving up three sacks to Jared Allen. And that was supposedly because his knee was still bothering him.
This time around, it's a different tune. While Jones came into camp healthy, gearing for some hittin', he's clearly not happy:
That situation is what it is," Jones said when asked about his relationship with the team. "Wherever they want me, I'll jump out there."
Lewis is praising Jones:
"He finished the season healthy, so I would expect nothing else," said Lewis, who visited Jones' trainers in Arizona in the offseason. "They said he was setting the standard for the entire group out there. He obviously has been a big investment for us, and one we want to see healthy and playing productive football for a long time."
Perhaps Jones' attitude will simmer some and have him back onboard -- and I'm sure he's very focused on how the team reacts (and treats) Chad Johnson. It would be very unwise for Jones to become disgruntled at this point; he'd have to play second fiddle to Johnson and would likely be overlooked.
Jones worked out with the first team at left tackle Thursday.