Julio Jones skips first day of OTAs

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones runs a agility drill the first day of team practice at training camp on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Flowery Branch.

Credit: Curtis Compton

Credit: Curtis Compton

Falcons wide receiver Julio Jones runs a agility drill the first day of team practice at training camp on Thursday, July 27, 2017, in Flowery Branch.

Falcons All-Pro wide receiver Julio Jones did not attend the first session of the team’s organized training activities, which started today, according to a source with knowledge of the attendees.

The team would not comment on his absence and said that head coach Dan Quinn would address the situation on Tuesday during his regularly scheduled availability session.

» Mark Bradley: What to make of Julio Jones' absence

The team would not comment on reports that Jones wants an “updated” contract. They did not respond to the question, “Did CAA/(Jimmy) Sexton ask (the Falcons) for an updated contract?”

Calls, text and emails to Jones’ agent Jimmy Sexton were not immediately returned.

Jones has never had a contract dispute with the team, which recently signed quarterback Matt Ryan to a five-year, $150 million contract extension. Back in 2015, when Jones' contract was extended he said, "I'm not going to hold out." 

Jones didn’t practice last offseason after undergoing foot surgery, is reportedly following the same OTA practice schedule -- once a week -- that Roddy White followed later in his career.

Jones has been working out in Alabama and Atlanta.

Ryan, who as of mid-April, hadn't worked out with Jones, was hoping that Jones would be able to fully participate.

“It’s huge when you get any player to be able to participate fully,” Ryan said recently at his golf outing. “That’s critical. But you never know, the offseason and seasons are different every year. I think he came through the year, but I don’t want to speak for him, but he came through the year fairly healthy.”

At the owner’s meeting in March, Quinn thought Jones would fully work in the offseason program and discussed the important of practice for all of the players.

He noted last season that the passing game suffered because Jones and speedster Taylor Gabriel could not practice for all of the offseason. Gabriel was not re-signed

He was excited as he thought that Jones would take part in the offseason program, OTAs and minicamp.

“The chemistry that takes place between receivers, running backs, coaches, everybody, it’s important,” Quinn said. “When you miss those steps, although for instance, Julio and Matt have lots of hours logged together through the years, but there is nothing takes the place of on the field practice.

“So, we are excited for guys like Julio who’ll be able to work this spring and get that timing with him and Matt just right.”

However, Jones, has been working out away from the team, and has worked out with Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens.

Jones had a 59.5 percent catch ratio (148 targets, 88 catches), which was his second-lowest since his rookie season, when he had a 56.8 percent catch ratio.

Jones caught only 6 of 22 passes (27 percent) thrown to him inside the 20-yard line for one touchdown. By comparison, Pittsburgh’s Antonio Brown caught 13 of 23 (56.5 percent) of his passes in the red zone for six touchdowns.

Jones, who also had seven drops, finished with 1,444 yards and three touchdowns.

The OTAs are voluntary. The team’s mandatory minicamp is set for June 12-14.