• 2016 Colts Training Camp Preview: Defensive Line
ANDERSON, Ind. —Art Jones didn't mince words on Tuesday: he messed up.
But with news of his league-imposed four-game suspension to open up the 2016 regular season now official, the Indianapolis Colts' defense tackle says he only has one decision from here.
"I'm on a mission, you know, and I'm sticking with my mission to come here and to dominate and to play at a high level," Jones told reporters on Tuesday morning as Colts players began filing in to their Anderson University dorms to get training camp underway. "Right now I'm happy to be in Anderson, you know, to be here with my teammates, my brothers, and embracing the grind with them."
Jones on Friday was suspended without pay for the first four games of the 2016 regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances.
While he didn't want to get into too much detail about what led to his suspension, Jones certainly didn't shy away from admitting his wrongdoing.
"Obviously it's not how I wanted to start my camp. You know, I did a piss-poor job going through my supplements and making sure there wasn't a banned substance in there," Jones said. "I apologize to the organization, more importantly my teammates and the fans, and I appreciate all of their support, too."
Jones signed with the Colts as a free agent in 2014, agreeing to a reported five-year deal worth more than $30 million. At the time, he was coming off a combined 100 tackles and 8.5 sacks the previous two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens — production few 3-4 defensive ends available at the time could match.
Art Jones in action during the 2014 season.
But his journey in Indianapolis hasn't been as fruitful to this point. In 2014, his first season in Indianapolis, he suffered a painful right ankle sprain and played in nine games, totaling 24 tackles, 1.5 sacks and one forced fumble. Last season, Jones wouldn't play a single down after suffering a left ankle injury during the third preseason game.
Going into this offseason, Jones was still getting back to 100 percent and working with the team's medical staff to make a full return to the practice field by training camp. While his suspension allows him to be fully active throughout camp and the team's preseason games, Jones acknowledged that not being on the field much the past two seasons has been challenging on the mind and body.
Learning of his suspension, on top of that, is "definitely frustrating," he said.
"When you play as hard as I do, you know, injuries happen. I mean, that's one thing in football: injuries happen," Jones said. "I'm definitely confident in my ability, what I can do, and this is a mild bump in the train track, but I'm not derailed."
And while Jones can indeed be a full participant in training camp practices once fully cleared, he said he's also focusing on giving his fellow defensive linemen all the help they need so they can be ready to go come Week 1.
"We have so much talent in that room. I'm not worried," Jones said when asked how his teammates can respond without him in the first four weeks of the season. "Tell you what I'm doing: being a big brother to those guys, helping those guys out, and help develop them. The sky's the limit for our room, and I'm going to be excited to be a boost to the room when I come back."
When he does come back, Jones says he'll "be fresh, be healthy and be ready to dominate."
"You better believe that," he said.