Buffalo’s second-round pick has decided to spend the next five weeks training with his older brother Cayleb, a wide receiver for the Minnesota Vikings, and his younger brother Levi, an incoming freshman linebacker for USC.
“We both thought it would be a good idea to both train in Los Angeles and kind of be near my little brother and help him transition to his freshman year in college,” said Zay Jones of the idea he and his older brother Cayleb came up with for the five weeks between minicamp and training camp.
Cayleb, who is two years older than Zay, is still trying to get his NFL career off the ground. He has yet to appear in an NFL regular season game. He spent the 2016 offseason as an undrafted rookie with Philadelphia and then Cayleb finished the year on the Vikings practice squad, where he’ll try to earn a roster spot this summer.
Meanwhile Levi is just starting his college career after a high school career in their native Texas that made him a four-star Top 200 prospect in the country.
With all three fully aware that football is going to dominate their time from September through December in three different parts of the country, the brothers felt training together would be a productive way to prepare and bond before going their separate ways in the fall.
“This is an exciting time in all of our lives,” said Zay. “Each playing football, so just being there with each other and there’s still that aspect of conditioning, running, bonding and enjoying that time we have together. In season I’m going to be in this place or that place and Cayleb is going to be flying and we’re not going to have that connection, but we don’t want to lose sight of what’s ultimately important which is preparing to play football.”
Zay also plans to meet up with Tyrod Taylor and his Bills teammates for some planned throwing sessions in Georgia between now and training camp, but the bulk of his time will involve training with his two brothers.
Of the three Jones boys, Zay was the most lightly recruited out of high school.
“Between my brothers and I there were probably 200-plus scholarship offers,” Zay Jones said. “I contributed with one. They had 100 each. Cayleb was a five-star recruit. My little brother was recruited everywhere. Then here was little old me, at the time a little undersized. A lot of people passed on me. They didn’t see me at a level that my older brother was.”
Zay Jones was a late bloomer growing three inches and adding 10-15 pounds his senior year of high school. That combined with his tireless work ethic helped to make him a top flight NFL prospect.
“I never lost sight of who I was as a person and player. I always took what I was doing seriously. I love the game and this is what I was born to do. I enjoy it and made the most of the opportunity and ultimately I’m here, so none of that stuff matters.”
All three Jones brothers are highly competitive, thanks in part to their father, Robert Jones, who won three Super Bowls as a linebacker with the Cowboys and was the NFC Rookie of the Year in 1992 and played 10 years in the NFL.
So to say that the brothers will be pushing each other these next five weeks would be an understatement.
And the NFL schedule this summer offers even a little more incentive for Zay and Cayleb specficially.