Same chip on Reshad Jones’ twice-repaired shoulders.
“I don’t really have to prove anything to anybody,” Jones said Tuesday, speaking to Miami reporters for the first time in some six months. “I’ve been one of the best safeties in this league for a long time. I put the work in year in and year out. That’s my pattern. That’s what I do.”
And with that, things felt a little familiar again for an organization that has changed dramatically since the last time we saw Jones in a Dolphins uniform.
Jones returned to the team this week after skipping the Dolphins’ voluntary minicamp. And while many criticized his decision to stay away, Jones made no apologies Tuesday.
“Me and the coach [Brian Flores], we had communication,” Jones said. “I know you guys have to write stories and stuff like that, but me and coach were communicating. Voluntary means voluntary so I took the time to get physically ready to play a 16-game stretch coming off a surgery in February.”
Jones added that he wanted to “take time to get physically in shape and ready to play a 16-game stretch or longer.”
But that answer just leads to more questions, ones that were not asked during Jones’ four-minute Q&A on Tuesday.
There are plenty of Dolphins players rehabbing from 2018 injuries that have still elected to be around the team this spring.
Jones, meanwhile, chose to work out alone in a Miami gym. We know this because of the Instagram pictures and videos he posted during the last two months.
So did he not trust the Dolphins to properly manage his rehab?
Or was there another reason he stayed away?
Trade talk locally has ramped way up ever since the Miami Herald reported Sunday that the Dolphins would deal Jones if offered the right compensation.
“I’ve seen it and I’ve heard of it, but I control what I control,” Jones said. “I’m in great shape. I’m still one of the best safeties in this league, and whatever happens, happens. I control what I control. I’m here, I love this city, I love the fans. I’d love to be a part of the Dolphins organization.”
Jones’ contract makes him virtually uncuttable and nearly as hard to trade. He is owed $13 million this season — including $11 million guaranteed — so for the Dolphins to move him, they likely would have to eat some of that money.
Flores, meanwhile, spoke as if Jones was a part of the team’s plans in 2019. How big of a part? That’s up to Jones, who famously quit during last year’s home Jets game after coaches pulled him out for a series as part of a secondary rotation.
“What your role will be on this team is up to you,” Flores said. “It’s about how you practice, how you prepare.”
Flores is a no-nonsense, team-first coach. Jones certainly did not put the team first when he refused to enter the game for former coach Adam Gase and former defensive coordinator Matt Burke.
When asked about that incident — which occurred while Flores was a member of the Patriots’ coaching staff — Flores responded:
“I’m going to focus on today. I’m not focused on last year or yesterday or any of that. My conversations with Reshad are about playbook, communication, technique. Last year’s last year.”
Jones acknowledged that he has had “minimal talks” with his new coach, but added that Flores “kept it real with me, once we were communicating about me not being here and different things like that. I know he comes from a winning program so I’m excited to be working with him.”
But Jones — who said his shoulder is close to 100 percent healthy — did suggest that his career body of work should afford him a certain amount of respect.
“I earned that,” he said. “I earned my stripes in this league. I’ve done everything possible. I’ve been a two-time Pro Bowler. Everything you can possibly imagine. It doesn’t faze me. I put the work in year in and year out and I’m here to help this team win football games.”