Datone Jones apologized to coaches, teammates and Green Bay Packers executives Monday in his first public comments after receiving a one-game suspension for violating the NFL's substance abuse policy.
Jones, a 2013 first-round defensive end, was suspended last month for the Packers' opener in Chicago. He received a marijuana citation in January, hours after the Packers returned from their NFC title game loss in Seattle, Press-Gazette Media previously reported.
Speaking with reporters Monday, Jones would not revisit the situation following the NFC title game. He said he had no plans to appeal the suspension. Scheduled to return Week 2 against the Seahawks, Jones said he just wants to move forward.
"It was a long, tough year," Jones said, "and I've moved past it. I dwelled on it. My mind is all into football now, focused, and I'm ready to get better with my teammates.
"It's going to be a great year. I could really feel we're doing a lot of great things in this locker room, and I'm very excited to be a part of it."
Jones admitted his apology – and his insistence to move forward – only means so much.
Three years into what the Packers hoped would be a promising career, the defensive end has failed to meet expectations attached to a first-round pick. Jones has five sacks in two seasons, and he's only started three games.
But, Jones said, football has never been more important to him. To prove it to his team, he arrived in Green Bay a month before the Packers started their offseason program in May. Jones said his actions must continue to show his commitment.
"It's not about saying the right things," he said. "For me, football is my everything. Football is my way. It's been my ticket. It's what I love doing every day. It's not just about me, it's about my teammates. I have a new wife (married in March). I have a daughter that's on the way (due in mid-October). It's for my family. I have to become that provider for me as well.
"This sport is more than a game to me. It's more a life. It's realistic. When I go out there, I'm doing it for my family, my teammates and for myself, ultimately. I'm hurt over the situation. I'm focused, and I'm ready to go. That's all I can really say."
Jones will be one of potentially three Packers players suspended against the Bears.
Fellow defensive lineman Letroy Guion – who has not spoken with media – is appealing a three-game suspension after a drug arrest in February. Tight end Andrew Quarless is subject to league discipline after being arrested for discharging his firearm in public July 4 at Miami Beach, Fla.
Jones said he doesn't know how he'll spend his one-week suspension, but he's determined not to take a break.
"I'm going to be working out like a dog," Jones said. "I don't know how many reps the guys are going to play, but I'm going to be pushing myself. I don't know if I'm allowed in the facilities or anything (he's not, per NFL rules). I don't know if there's a nearby park out there, but I'll be there working out and getting better."
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