Defensive star Chris Jones always knew he’d be back with the Chiefs ... and when

Chris Jones back at Chiefs training camp after offseason with family

Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones speaks after practicing at training camp in St. Joseph on Sunday, July 28, 2019.
Up Next
Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones speaks after practicing at training camp in St. Joseph on Sunday, July 28, 2019.

Chris Jones must have been amused at all the speculation about his return to the Chiefs.

He had missed OTAs and mini-camp, subjecting him to a fine. Jones, entering the final year of his rookie contract, was angling for a long-term deal.

When would he arrive? Would he show up at all?

Turned out, Jones knew precisely his reporting date.

“I knew from the beginning I was going to arrive on time,” Jones said.

On time meant Friday, when the veterans checked in at Missouri Western State University.

Jones is coming off his best season. His 15.5 sacks led the Chiefs and ranked third in the NFL behind Aaron Donald and J.J. Watt.

When he brought down Russell Wilson in a December game at Seattle, Jones set an NFL record for most consecutive games with a sack, at 11. Jones was named second team All-Pro.

There was little to say about the negotiations Sunday, when Jones spoke publicly for the first time since March. Chiefs owner Clark Hunt addressed the topic a day earlier.

“Those discussions will take place here in the coming weeks and coming months,” Hunt said. “We would sure like to have Chris be part of the team from a long-term standpoint, but there are a lot of considerations that go into that.”

Jones currently is set to make a base salary of $1.19 million this season, the final year of a four-year, $6.23 million deal.

The Chiefs could give Jones an extension based on three years of club control, which comes to about $45-50 million in guaranteed money and bonuses.

The Jones camp seeks an extension based on the deal of $63.5 million in guarantees signed by Frank Clark after acquiring him in a trade with Seattle.

“I’m letting my agents handle it,” Jones said. “That’s why I hired those guys. … Of course, I’d love to spend the rest of my career here. We’ll work it out. I’m not worrying about that.”

Jones could have held out. His presence earned the respect of his teammates.

“Most guys in that position, there’s a lot of outside noise that dictates what they do,” said safety Tyrann Mathieu. “For him to be here, I think that says a lot about his character. A lot of respect for him.”

Jones didn’t lose shape while not practicing. He kept in touch through social media, posting photos and updates workouts. Jones said his goal over the summer was to develop six-pack abs.

“I worked my tail off, I was doing two-a-days, committed to getting in shape,” Jones said.

He said he relished time with family, took in Disney World and studied up as much as he could about the Chiefs’ new 4-3 defensive scheme and staff led by defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo. Jones moves from end to tackle in the new alignment.

“It’s different, it’s very different but it’s a good different,” Jones said. “The sky’s the limit for this defense....I’m focused on being a dominant player in this defense.”

Another reason Jones knew he’d return to the Chiefs for the start of camp: He takes seriously his role as brand ambassador for KC Metro Special Olympics and Mosaic Life Care. Charlie Hustle has developed a Stone Cold Jones 95 T-shirt and part of the proceeds will go to his charities.

“It’s bigger than me,” Jones said.

Don't have a KC Star subscription? Help support our sports coverage

If you already subscribe to The Star, thanks for your support. If not, our digital sports-only subscription is just $30 per year. It's your ticket to everything sports in Kansas City ... and beyond, and supports our award-winning coverage.

Related stories from Kansas City Star