Donnie Longball is going out a champion.
After 14 seasons in the NFL, Eagles punter Donnie Jones announced his retirement from the NFL on Tuesday morning.
During those 14 seasons, Jones played for five different teams, but had been with the Eagles for the last five. At 37 years old, he helped the Eagles win their first Super Bowl in franchise history.
“After 14 seasons in the NFL, I have decided to retire so that I can spend more time with my family," Jones said in a statement released by the team. "I am grateful for all those who have supported me throughout the years. Specifically, I would like to thank Jeffrey Lurie, Howie Roseman, Doug Pederson, and the entire Eagles organization for allowing me to be a part of their family for the past five seasons. I will truly miss my teammates, coaches, friends, and the best fans in the NFL.
"Although I am retiring, I will always be an Eagle and will forever have a special place in my heart for the city of Philadelphia. It is a great honor to be a part of the first Super Bowl championship team in Eagles history and there is no better way to finish my career.”
Jones joined the Eagles in 2013 and went on to spend the next five years becoming the greatest punter in team history. He's the Eagles' all-time leader in gross punting average (45.37), net average (40.5) and career punts inside the 20 (138) (see Roob's Donnie Jones stats).
As he retires, Jones leaves behind a consecutive-games-played streak of 208, the third-longest in the NFL.
Jones was a seventh-round pick of the Seahawks in 2004 and played in 214 regular season games. He was an All-Pro in 2008 and 2009 in St. Louis.
Aside from being one of the more solid punters in the league throughout his time in Philadelphia, he also became one of the most well-liked players in the locker room despite being a specialist and the oldest guy on the roster.
“We want to congratulate Donnie Jones on reaching the pinnacle of his career and retiring as a Super Bowl champion," the Eagles said in a statement. "Donnie is a professional in every sense of the word and we wish him all the best in retirement. We owe much of our recent special teams success to Donnie, as evidenced by the numerous franchise punting records he set during his five-year run with the Eagles. We will miss Donnie’s ability on the field, but will also miss his enthusiastic personality and the daily commitment he made to engaging with our community and our fan base.”
Before the 2016 season, Jones told NBC Sports Philadelphia that his goal was to play as long as he could. He thought he had much more left than just one or two seasons. He ended up playing just two more and it seems like going out a champion was appealing to him.
The only Eagles player who could legally have a drink when Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl, it was pretty clear how much the opportunity to play in Super Bowl LII meant to Jones. "I've been in this league a long time and in my 14th year to have an opportunity to play for a world championship, it means everything," Jones said in the run-up to the big game. "I look back at the sacrifices I've made, different cities I've lived in, moving my wife and kids around, countless hours of preparation and practice, and finally it's all paying off. I couldn't be happier about the opportunity."
With Jones gone, the Eagles still have another punter on their roster. The Birds brought back Cameron Johnston, who was with them during training camp before last season. Johnston went undrafted out of Ohio State in the 2017 draft. He was the Big Ten punter of the year as a senior and his 46.7-yard average was fifth in the nation.
The Eagles will also see some slight salary cap relief from Jones' retirement. Jones was set to have a cap hit of $1.875 million for this upcoming season.