Star safety Reshad Jones said he has no regrets about how he behaved on the Dolphins’ sidelines Sunday, but insisted that he’s no quitter.
“I’ve never been a quitter,” Jones said. “I’ve been here nine years, playing my ass off for this team. Never been a quitter, never will. I’m going to continue to do what I need to do to be one of the best in the league and help this team win football games.”
Jones also disagreed with the characterization that he took himself out of the game. But that might just might have been semantics.
A more accurate way to describe what happened Sunday seems to be that he refused to reenter the game after getting pulled as part of Matt Burke’s platoon plan.
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Burke asked Jones, Bobby McCain and T.J. McDonald to all sacrifice snaps to get rookie Minkah Fitzpatrick on the field more against the Jets.
McCain and McDonald followed those instructions without incident and returned to the field when their temporary benching was up.
But once Jones was asked to come off the field after 10 snaps, he never returned.
“I think anybody would be upset if they came out the game, but he didn’t say too much about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “… Just keep moving, that’s it.”
The Dolphins tried to do just that Wednesday, their first practice since Jones’ in-game protest. Dolphins players and coach Adam Gase tried to say as little as possible about what is probably the most embarrassing chapter of Jones’ decorated career.
When asked directly Wednesday if Jones had to mend fences with his teammates. Gase responded:
“All of that stuff, that’s between all of those guys and they’re going to keep that in house. I don’t think you’re going to get anybody talking about that. We handled what we needed to handle and we’re moving on.”
Added Fitzpatrick: “There’s no repairs. Everybody understood what the situation was.”
Another Dolphins defensive player acknowledged that it’s been a weird week in team headquarters, but that the team’s veteran leadership is handling the situation.
“I definitely spoke to my teammates and coaching staff,” Jones said. “We’re all on the same page, and we’re focusing all of our attention on Green Bay.”
Reporters did not ask Gase whether he cleared things up with defensive coordinator Matt Burke after suggesting Monday that there could have been a breakdown in communication between Burke and Jones, leading to the issue.
But sources tell the Miami Herald that Gase trusts Burke and that he intends to keep him as his defensive coordinator at least through the rest of the season.
Burke will speak to reporters for the first time since Jones’ blowup during his weekly news conference Thursday afternoon.
Late Sunday, Jones decided to visit Gase in team headquarters and lay out his side of the situation. Gase on Monday seemed to accept Jones’ explanation, and made clear that Jones would not be suspended.
“I just wanted to holler at him, make sure we were basically on the same page, which we are right now,” said Jones, who added that he and Burke have “always been on the same page.”
Jones would “most definitely” be OK with a rotation this week against the Packers, adding: “whatever the coaching staff says we have to do, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Still, Jones was more defiant than contrite during his brief media availability inside the Dolphins locker room after practice Wednesday.
Jones insisted that he “definitely” would not be upset with a teammate who refused to play — directly hurting the team’s chances — once he heard the explanation that Jones gave.
He wants fans to know “that I’ve been a nine-year pro. I’ve been one of the best safeties in the league for a long time and I’ll continue to fight and play my ass off for this team.”
Do you have any regrets?
“No. Not at all.”
Miami Herald sportswriter Armando Salguero contributed to this report.