Arthur Blank 'Disappointed' Julio Jones Wanted to Be Traded From Falcons

Blake SchusterContributor IJuly 29, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - DECEMBER 27:  Julio Jones #11 of the Atlanta Falcons shakes hands with team owner Arthur Blank after beating the Carolina Panthers at the Georgia Dome on December 27, 2015 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
Scott Cunningham/Getty Images

Atlanta Falcons chairman Arthur Blank felt personally bothered by Julio Jones' trade request earlier this offseason. 

Speaking to reporters Thursday, Blank said he wanted Jones to be a Falcon for life but understood his desire to leave: 

"The part that bothered me personally was the fact that he expressed that he wanted to be traded. We had a 10-year relationship. We had a good relationship. He was productive, a Hall of Fame player, and I was disappointed he felt that way. For whatever reasons, I'm not sure, I wasn't able to speak with him. I tried to, but he felt the way he felt and he wanted to make a change."

On June 6, the Falcons sent Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Tennessee Titans for a 2022 second-round pick and a 2023 fourth-round pick.

Atlanta finished under .500 in each of the last three seasons and hasn't made the postseason since 2017.

Atlanta will likely struggle to contend while sharing a division with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and New Orleans Saints regardless of whether Jones was on the field. 

Blank wasn't ready to see him go, however. Not after he tallied 12,896 receiving yards and 60 touchdown catches in 135 games over 10 years.

Instead, Blank said it was Jones' desire to play elsewhere that set the trade into motion:

"Julio made it clear that he had certain aspirations and wanted to do it someplace else. That was not our original intent. That's the message that we got from the player and human being as well. He gave us 10 great years, which is about half of my ownership. He set all kinds of records, but the time was right for him to move on. I think the coach and general manager did a good job trying to get him to stay here, but he was ready to move. One thing about football is that you want a locker room where everyone does want to be here. You don't want even one of the 53 to want to be someplace else."

That isn't a slight at Jones so much as the reality of the situation. With the Falcons unable to contend at the moment, Jones had few reasons to stay for a rebuild.