It’s always a special day when a slam dunk Hall of Fame player like Julio Jones goes back for the first time to face the team for which he forged his legacy.
That’s what will happen tomorrow when the Bucs head to Atlanta for the season finale against the Falcons.
Is Julio a Hall of Famer? Consider that in the history of the NFL, only one player averages more receiving yards per game than Julio. That’s Justin Jefferson of the Vikings. Behind Julio at 87.9 yards per game is Hall of Fame receiver Calvin Johnson at 86.1. (Behind him as Antonio Brown at 84.2).
Julio also is a seven-time Pro Bowler who ranks 23rd all-time in career catches with 903.
Joe expects Julio to get some love for the crowd Sunday. Joe also expects Tom Brady to target Julio early to get him a catch or two so he can hear the cheers in a big way.
Julio’s relationship with the Falcons fell apart late in the 2020 season and he was traded to Tennessee in March of 2021. But Julio is beloved in Atlanta, and he did not play against them last season.
The Bucs have squeezed 10 games and 24 catches for 299 yards and 2 touchdowns out of Julio this season, in addition to him drawing a few hearty pass interference penalties. Given his injury history, Joe’s not sure the Bucs could have expected too much more.
In many ways, however, Julio was signed to perform in January. As a pending free agent with a ton of pride and work ethic, Joe expects Julio will answer the bell.
This content was originally published here.