FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Cyrus Jones was sure his tenure with the Patriots was over when he was cut at the end of training camp earlier this month.
New England chose to sever ties with the cornerback and return man, a second-round pick in 2016, after an underwhelming two-year tenure.
It included fumble issues and a right knee injury that caused him to miss the 2017 season.
It is why Jones said he was “blown away” when he got a call from his agent Monday night saying that the Patriots wanted to re-sign him.
A deal was completed, and Jones was added to the 53-man roster on Wednesday. He practiced for the first time with his old team Thursday.
“Everybody was excited to see me, as I was excited to see them,” said Jones, who had been on the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad since being released by New England.
Jones has been working with the safeties since his return, a position that took a hit when starter Patrick Chung suffered a concussion during New England’s loss at Jacksonville.
Devin McCourty, Duron Harmon and Nate Ebner — a primary special teamer — are the only other safeties on the depth chart. So, if Chung isn’t cleared to play this weekend against Detroit, the chances are high that Jones will see at least some action.
McCourty said he started beaming when he saw Jones back in the team cafeteria.
“Even when he left and went to Baltimore, I was texting him to see how he was doing,” McCourty said. “It was a good feeling seeing him come back in here.”
Jones appeared in 10 games for the Patriots in 2016, making one start. But he had more fumbles (five on 19 punt and kick returns) than tackles (three) on defence.
He was making progress this spring after his knee surgery, but it wasn’t enough to secure him a roster spot when New England made its initial 53-man cut.
He said he’s not looking at this second opportunity as a chance at redemption.
“I’m just here to do a job, just like everybody else,” Jones said. “I don’t look at it like that. I look at it as another opportunity, just like it was when I was in Baltimore. Just like I did when I left here. Trying to be the best guy on Sundays.”
But Jones acknowledged “it hurt” not being on a roster to open the season.
“I get that opportunity being back here, so I’m going to make the most of it,” he said.
Jones said he’s put the past and the circumstances surrounding his initial departure behind him. He said he respects the Patriots reasons for letting him go.
“Whether I was working my way back from injury or whatever — who wants to get cut?” Jones said. “It really didn’t matter the circumstances of why I got cut. It didn’t matter. That wasn’t important to me. It happened, and I dealt with it like a man and moved on.
“Fortunately enough, coach thought enough of me to bring me back and to help this team win. That’s what I’m gonna focus on doing.”
Notes: TE Rob Gronkowski was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle issue. Chung and DE Trey Flowers both sat out the second straight day as they continue to go through the league’s concussion protocol.