In case you missed it, the NFL has altered the touchback rule so that kickoffs that reach the end zone will now come out to the 25-yard line instead of the 20.
The five-yard difference is meant to make returners more willing to take a knee if they catch the ball in the end zone with a chance to take it out. It's become clear over the years the NFL is reducing the number of kickoff returns that take place with so many high-impact collisions during them. The NFL considers returns to be the most dangerous play in football.
But don't think this new rule will affect Bengals cornerback Adam Jones. His rise in the NFL happened in large part because of his abilities as a return man. Like many players who grow to make their living in this league, Jones made an impact on special teams for much of his early career as he slowly honed his DB skills and eventually became a Pro Bowl-caliber corner.
Even though Jones is now more known for his abilities as a corner, he still has that mindset of a star return man and will still get returner opportunities with the Bengals next year. But because he shares said duties with Brandon Tate, Jones knows his chances here will be limited, so he's going to make the most of them every chance he gets.
That's what he said Thursday on The Dan Patrick Show, where Jones claimed the new rule doesn’t matter to him because he’s coming out "regardless" so he can do the most damage possible.
"I think everyone know on my time. If I touch the ball, I really have to be going backwards to sit it down. I trust myself that I'm going to get past the 25, I'm going to have the green light when it comes to that," Jones said.
Here's the full interview:
Jones also said he doesn't think the NFL "talks to the players" when it comes to altering or completely changing rules. He also made a good point about former players like Josh Cribbs and Devin Hester, who were star returners that lasted in the NFL because of their returner abilities.
But going forward, Jones said those types of players (think, Brandon Tate) might not last in the NFL because of the new rules limiting kickoff returns.
It's kind of sad to think the next versions of Jones, Cribbs and even Hester may not last in today's NFL. As exciting as those three were/are to watch return a football, I feel like the game is being cheated a bit with these new rules.
Jones also took some time to discuss his relationship with Antonio Brown. "AB cool. We've talked, it's over with and done with. You guys let that run a little bit more then... I'm not saying you, just saying in general," Jones said about the media's portrayal of the feud between Jones and Brown. He added, "Me and Antonio don't have no beef."