Marvin Jones saw the new Detroit Lions up close last season, so when coming back became an option it ultimately was not hard for him to do so.
As the Detroit Lions went into a rebuild in 2021, they simply weren’t going to re-sign Marvin Jones. So he took a free agent deal with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then got an up-close look at a culture far different than the one he experienced over five seasons in Detroit during a 40-14 blowout loss to the Lions last season.
"It was a kick in our butt and changed our season after that game,” Jones said about the loss to the Lions. “On the film you see it. You see a good team, a well-coached team. …There’s a lot of talent. That’s all I can say. There is a lot of talent. It’ll be exciting just to come and add to that value"
Jones is returning to a Lions’ team that’s in a far different place than it was when he left. He’s now 33 years old, joining a deep group of wide receivers led by Amon-Ra St. Brown and rising star Jameson Williams. Repeating the kind of numbers he put up during his first stint as a Lion is unlikely, but Jones is absolutely set to be an important veteran presence for the wide receiver room and the team as a whole.
Jones had some focus on signing with a team on the West Coast before coming back to the Lions landed as an option.
"From the start it was evident that they wanted me here, but it took me to try to see, try to see what I was going to do, stay on the West Coast or whatever,” Jones said. “That’s how free agency is, but I don’t know. I think when somebody wants you here, you automatically have that feeling, that sense of, ‘Oh, maybe I belong here, I’ve always belonged here,’ or whatever.”"
Jones has worn No. 11 since the first season of his initial stint with the Lions in 2016. Kalif Raymond wears that number for the Lions now, but Jones is taking advantage of the NFL’s new rule allowing players to wear a certain number. So there’s no more wondering about which Lion will wear said number next season.
It’s a new era for the Lions, and a new number for Jones as he makes his welcome return looking to contribute to a team on the rise.