When Marvin Jones Jr. first started thinking about free agency, a move back to the Midwest wasn’t high on his priority list. His family had just moved back out west to better weather and a more familiar environment. Moving back to the cold weather in Michigan, on its surface, didn’t sound too appealing.
But there was a feeling deep in Jones Jr.—call it a premonition or destiny—that drew him in like a tractor beam to the Detroit Lions team he had played for just three years ago.
“I always had something–you could ask my son right here–something in me was just like, ‘I think I could be going back to Detroit. I don’t know. We’ll see,’” Jones Jr. explained during his re-introductory press conference on Wednesday.
Of course, the Lions played a big part in this, too. According to Jones Jr., they made it clear very early in the free agency process that they were interested in bringing him back. It helped that Detroit is trending upward—something Jones Jr. saw firsthand as a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars when the Lions beat them handily 40-14 last year.
“On the film you see it. You see a good team, a well-coached team,” Jones Jr. said. “And when they don’t make mistakes, the mistakes is gonna end up in the win. There’s a lot of talent. That’s all I can say.”
So Jones Jr. checked with the family—who will stay on the west coast but travel to Detroit for every home game—and after getting the green light, Jones signed with the Lions. He never even considered any other non-west coast team in free agency.
And even though he had only spent a few hours in Detroit since re-signing, he could already see a difference in the organization that went just 32-47-1 when he was here the first time around.
“The organization is different, the culture, and stuff like that,” Jones Jr. said. “It’s a team that’s obviously done some great things and can continue to do great things and make a push. That was definitely intriguing.”
His role will likely be different than the first time around here. In five seasons, Jones Jr. was essentially WR2 in Detroit and tallied an average of 859 yards and 7.2 touchdowns per season. Now Jones Jr. will be entering a stacked receiver room that already has Pro Bowl receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown, 2022 first-round pick Jameson Williams, and Josh Reynolds—who all helped create a top-five offense in Detroit last season.
Jones Jr., who turned 33 last month, understands that it will be on him to not only compete for a role on this offense but to be an example to Detroit’s young receiver room.
“Everybody knows how I work. I think that’s one thing that people can take away from me,” Jones Jr. said. “It’s like, ‘Hey, jeesh, this guy is how old or he’s been in the league for this long?’ And I’m still taking off. I’m still doing the same things that I need to do for me to be great. In the past, and I think my whole career has rubbed off on a lot of receivers or players, generally speaking, on the team. I think that’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to go out there and I’m going to compete.”