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Change has always been part of Jacoby Jones’ football career.
He moved high schools and eventually went on to earn a college scholarship.
Then he transferred from Southeastern Louisiana University to Lane College after his freshman season, and became an all-conference performer before getting drafted by the Houston Texans in the third round.
Now, after five seasons in Houston, Jones is making another move.
He signed with the Ravens as a free agent last week and expects the most recent change to bring another round of success.
“Change is good in life,” Jones said after an offseason workout. “I left one high school, went to another and I was successful. I left one college and went to Lane College and was successful. And now I’m leaving Houston and I will be successful.
“Change is good. It’s always good to have a breath of fresh air.”
Baltimore signed the wide receiver/return specialist to a two-year contract after he was released by the Texans.
He is the favorite in a competition for the Ravens’ No. 3 receiver spot and also handle punt and kickoff return duties. Jones is participating in the team’s voluntary offseason workouts, and says he is willing to do whatever the coaching staff wants from him.
“My goal right now is to play my role,” Jones said. “Whatever they want me to do, I’ll do it. If they want me to block every play, I’ll block every play. I just want to contribute, play my part and do my job.”
Jones started 10 games at wide receiver last year, finishing the season with 31 receptions for 512 yards and two touchdowns. He has 127 catches for 1,741 yards and 11 touchdowns throughout his career.
Jones has explosive speed, which could make him a downfield threat alongside second-year receiver Torrey Smith.
“As a receiver, there’s nothing like catching that rock and taking off and beating a good defender,” Jones said.
He will have to compete with Tandon Doss, LaQuan Williams, David Reed and rookie Tommy Streeter for playing time at receiver behind Smith and veteran Anquan Boldin.
Regardless of what happens at the receiver spot, Jones could also provide an immediate impact on special teams. He returned 49 punts last year for a 10.6-yard average, including a 79-yard touchdown. Jones didn’t return kicks last season, but has 64 career returns for a 23.3-yard average and one touchdown.
The Ravens used top cornerback Lardarius Webb as their main punt returner last year, but would prefer to have someone else handle that role going forward. At kick returner, Reed is coming back from knee surgery to repair a torn ACL, and his exact timetable for a return is still up in the air.
Jones could potentially win both return jobs.
“I love returning kicks and punts because it’s like playing in the backyard,” he said. “I’ll do everything. I’ll play inside, outside, special teams, block, whatever, all of the above.”
Jones’ ability to provide a boost to the return game and wide receiver corps was why the Ravens were interested in him when he became available.
For Jones, the attraction to him was the players in the Ravens’ locker room and the chance to challenge for a Super Bowl.
“When I came here on my visit, they welcomed me here like I was already signed,” Jones said. “The other attraction is the opportunity. They are contenders. That’s the big thing right there.”