In a tweet on Sunday, February 26, Miami Dolphins cornerback Byron Jones revealed that he “can’t run or jump” after sustaining injuries in his NFL games. Jones warned players to avoid “pills” and “injections,” alluding to drugs NFL doctors give to athletes.
Jones is famous for setting a long jump world record at the NFL Combine, leaping around 12 feet and three inches in a broad jump. An NFL graphic video tweet from 2015 compared Jones’ jump to two 2015 Mini-Cooper with a combined length of 11 feet and six inches.
In his tweet, Jones referred back to the video, noting how his physical condition has changed in the past eight years of his career. He also gave a stern warning to the NFL class of 2023.
“Do not take the pills they give you. Do not take the injections they give you. If you absolutely must, consult an outside doctor to learn the long-term implications. It was an honor and privilege to play in the NFL but it came at a regrettable cost I did not foresee,” Jones said.
“In my opinion, no amount of professional success or financial gain is worth avoidable chronic pain and disabilities. Godspeed to the draft class of 2023.”
After his success in the Combine, Jones was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, kickstarting his career in the league. He was with the Cowboys for five years — bringing one touchdown, two interceptions and 349 tackles to the team.
In 2020, he signed a five-year contract with the Miami Dolphins as a free agent. He and Xavien Howard created one of the NFL’s top cornerback pairs before Jones suffered Achilles and ankle injuries near the start of 2022.
The Dolphins put Jones on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list, and he could not join the 2022 season. While his $82 million contract signs him into a five-year agreement, Miami Herald reporter Barry Jackson suggests that the Dolphins may cut him off with two years left.
Jones is far from the first NFL player to bring up the games’ lasting physical impact. On February 9, 10 ex-NFL players sued the league for legal violations and falsehoods surrounding disability benefits.
Some plaintiffs include Daniel Loper, Jason Alford, Willis McGahee, Michael McKenzie, Jamize Olawale and other players of various teams and backgrounds. These players struggled to obtain benefits under the NFL’s disability plan, with the lawsuit claiming doctors denied referrals over 90 percent of the time.
The lawsuit alleged improper medical practice in the games. According to the lawsuit, doctors were rewarded with referral programs for denying players’ disability claims.
Plaintiffs cited physical and cognitive injuries from years of playing football, with many still affected by their disabilities. The NFL Disability Board and commissioner Roger Goodell were named among defendants in the case.
“They’re a small fraction of the players who have been wronged by the NFL’s disability plan. These former players deserve far more from an organization worth billions of dollars than a sham process in which there’s no chance of success,” class counsel Chris Seeger said.
Jones alludes to similar issues with NFL doctors in his tweets. However, in the same report regarding Jones’ possible exit from the Dolphins, Jackson also noted that Jones is unlikely to file a lawsuit regarding his injuries despite his recent tweets.
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