Patriots' Jonathan Jones clarifies tweet about COVID-19 and NFL season


About three weeks ago, New England Patriots cornerback Jonathan Jones pointed out in a tweet that you "can't social distance football," seemingly voicing his concern about playing the 2020 NFL season amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The two Patriots players who responded to Jones' tweet -- linebacker Dont'a Hightower and safety Patrick Chung -- both have opted out of the season. Will Jones follow suit before Thursday's 4 p.m. ET opt-out deadline?

The Patriots cornerback didn't seem ready to jump ship Wednesday, explaining in a video conference that his tweet was more a reference to somewhat fruitless NFL safety protocols like eliminating jersey swaps after games.

Download the MyTeams app for the latest Patriots news and analysis

"When I tweeted that, it was more (about) some of the protocols they started enforcing like the jersey swap and things like that," Jones said. " ... As far as being in the facility and being in meetings, they've gone to great lengths to make sure that we're safe in those regards.

"Referring to my tweet, it was more, when you're out there on the field and you're (playing), there's no social distancing in that. So, trying to eliminate jersey swapping and things like that, I kind of saw no point to that."

Jones is right: NFL players collide with each other on every play, so preventing players from fraternizing after games hardly would limit the spread of COVID-19 any more than calling off the games themselves.


Patriots Talk Podcast: Should Pats give Newton a raise with newfound cap space? | Listen & subscribe | Watch on YouTube

Concerns about safety have led more than 50 players to opt out of the season, to the point where the NFL moved the opt-out deadline up to this Thursday. Patriots safety Devin McCourty saw the league's move as a nefarious tactic to pressure players into making an important life decision, but Jones was a bit more diplomatic.

"We were able to come in and see the facility for a few days," Jones said when asked if he felt the NFL gave him enough time to make a decision about playing.

"I know a lot of guys don't like that they kind of went back on the agreement. That's kind of tough. But as far as just coming in and getting to see how things are working, at least for now, the step that we're in, we got to see the facility and see how things operate on a daily basis."

So, that means the 26-year-old cornerback plans to play this season ... right?

"I'm here ready to go to work every day," Jones replied when asked directly whether he plans to opt out. "Just show up ready to go to work."