Cyrus Jones did not have the kind of rookie season he expected after being taken in the second round out of Alabama last year. He played in 10 games for the Patriots, saw 147 snaps in Bill Belichick's defense, and never got a handle on the returner role for which it seemed as though he was being groomed.
His struggles in the return game seemed to snowball on him late in the season as he had difficulty juding punts against the Ravens in Week 13. One bounced off his foot, was recovered by the Ravens, and led to a Baltimore score soon thereafter. Another later in the game nearly grazed him again for a second fumble.
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Jones returned one more punt in Week 16 against the Jets, but that was the last game for which he was dressed. He was not active for any of New England's three postseason games as both Danny Amendola and Julian Edelman were available as punt-returners.The team also had plenty of cornerbacks from which to choose with Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan, Eric Rowe and Jonathan Jones rounding out the game-day depth chart.
After never getting his feet underneath him as a rookie, Cyrus Jones posted to Instagram -- and apparently deleted all older posts -- on Sunday night, indicating that he was looking forward to getting a fresh start next season.
"Reflecting back on my rookie season, this was by far one of the most challenging times in my life," he wrote. "I experienced a lot of pain, disappointment, embarrassment and overall dissatisfaction with myself. But through this time, I learned many lessons that as a man I can say I truly needed to learn..'Failure is another opportunity to begin again more intelligently' and the things I went through this year made me better and wiser.
"Regardless, I was blessed to be apart of something far greater than myself! I experienced the ultimate measure of success in this game we play...and did it with an even greater group of men and I'll never take that for granted. I was quickly reminded how much love and respect I have for this sport and also how much it means to so many people. So with that being said#patsnation , in 2017, 24 will be back and ready to work for the best fans in football! #revenge #godstimingnotmine#seeyallinyear2"
Jones could be in line for more work during his sophomore campaign since Ryan is scheduled to hit unrestricted free agency and Malcolm Butler will be a restricted free agent. Though it seems unlikely that Butler will end up anywhere other than New England, if Ryan receives an enticing offer elsewhere, Jones would appear to be one of the primary contenders to play in the slot for defensive coordinator Matt Patricia.