Although he didn’t mention Michael Clayton and Antonio Bryant by name, the two receivers combined for at least five drops in Tampa Bay’s 33-14 loss at Philadelphia on Sunday. Bucs head coach Raheem Morris blasted the play of his veteran wide receivers for dropped passes and that prompted the Buccaneers took a hard look at five free agent receivers at One Buc Place on Tuesday.
Former Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Matt Jones was the headliner in a group that also featured David Tyree, whose famous catch two years ago helped the New York Giants beat the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, Yamon Figurs, Chris Davis and Jordan Kent. Figurs played collegiately at Kansas State with Tampa Bay rookie quarterback Josh Freeman, Davis played collegiately at Florida State, while Kent hails from Oregon.
Jones, the Jaguars’ former first-round pick in 2005, played quarterback at Arkansas, but showed enough athleticism at the NFL Combine to convince Jacksonville to convert him to wide receiver in the pros.
Jones, 26, caught 166 passes for 2,153 yards (13.0 avg.) and 15 touchdowns during his four-year career with the Jaguars. He started 15 of the 52 games he played in with Jacksonville.
The 6-foot-6, 218-pound Jones’ best season came in 2008 when he hauled in a career-high 65 passes for 761 yards and two touchdowns.
Not only are the Bucs watching Jones closely on the football field, they’re in the process of taking an even closer look at him off it.
That’s because Jones’ four-year career in Jacksonville ended due to off-the-field issues, which included an arrest for cocaine in the summer of 2008 followed by a short jail sentence for violation of the terms of his plea deal after drinking alcohol.
Jones has been working out in hopes of resuming his NFL career. He reportedly graduated from a drug court in Arkansas, resulting in the state dropping cocaine possession charges against him. He also isn’t believed to be subject to discipline from the NFL.