Seahawks’ Josh Jones replacing Jamal Adams at Carroll urging


It remains the best walk through a hotel lobby of Josh Jones’ life.

Jones was simply doing what he was supposed to do, walking back into the hotel to a mandatory snack meeting the Seahawks had the night before a game. Teams make such eve-of-game snacks in a conference room mandatory. It’s to keep players close to the hotel and from wandering out near (or past) team curfews.

The walk through that lobby changed his career. It’s why he’s now one of Seattle’s starting safeties.

Last Jan. 8, Jones was at the Seahawks’ hotel in northeast Phoenix. The team was preparing to end its disappointing 2021 season the next day, playing a finale at the Arizona Cardinals. Jones was going to make his first start for Seattle. He was replacing injured Jamal Adams.

Jones was passing through the lobby of the Seahawks’ hotel that Saturday night when he happened to walk by coach Pete Carroll.

“It’s funny that we crossed paths that night. I was coming in, about to go eat a snack, about to go up to my room,” Jones said Wednesday.

“I tapped him and went, ‘What’s up, Coach?’

“And he turned back around and goes, ‘Hey, I’ve been wanting to talk to you.'”

Carroll and Jones then had an impromptu, deep conversation. They talked about Jones’ past. About him getting cut by the Packers as a second-round pick by Green Bay out of North Carolina State, and about him needing to, as Jones says now, “needing to mature (then), from the neck up.” They talked about Jones then getting cut by Dallas, Jacksonville and Indianapolis, four unemployment notices in two years before Seattle signed him to its practice squad Dec. 15.

He and Carroll also talked about Jones’ constant feeling of weakness, of not wanting to eat. Of failed treatments and medications. All that ended in the spring of 2021. That was when doctors removed Jones’ previously hyperactive thyroid.

He still has the sword-like, horizontal scar from that surgery across his lower neck, just above his clavicle.

“For the rest of my life I’m taking hormone pills,” Jones told The News Tribune last month. “I don’t have those symptoms that I had anymore.

“I feel great, man. I feel the best I’ve ever felt. My weight is phenomenal. I came here at 210 (pounds).”

Coach Pete Carroll (left, in white) greets Seahawks safety Josh Jones (13) during the team’s warmups for practice Wednesday, Sept. 14, 2022, at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center in Renton. Gregg Bell/The News Tribune

That January night in the chance hotel passing in Phoenix, at the end of the Seahawks’ 7-10 season, out of the playoffs for only the second time in 10 years, Carroll told Jones he was squarely in the team’s plans for 2022 and beyond. . The coach and former defensive back loved Jones’ physicality, his heart and his size.

He’s listed at 220 pounds but wants all to know he’s 210, “more like 208.”

Carroll collects guys who have chips on their shoulders from previous setbacks like pockets collect lint.

Jones, who turns 28 next week, is the latest of Carroll’s reclamation projects. He’s gone from four other team’s scrap piles to Seahawks starter.

Sunday, Jones will start at strong safety next to Pro Bowl free safety Quandre Diggs when Seattle (1-0) tries to take an early two-game division lead over their NFC West-rival San Francisco 49ers (0-1) in Santa Clara. , California.

Josh Jones had his thyroid removed in the spring of 2021. Since then, he says he’s a different person. He could be starting in a new three-safety scheme for the Seahawks’ remade defense. Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

Jamal Adams out injured again

Jones is starting because Adams is hurt again. The $70 million safety is likely out for much of if not all of this season. He injured his quadriceps tendon and his knee Monday night blitzing and hitting Russell Wilson in Seattle’s opening-game win over Denver.

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Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams (33) limps off the field after attempting to tackle Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) during the second quarter of an NFL game on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle. Pete Caster Pete Caster / The News Tribune

The next few games will be Jones’ first consecutive starts since the end of the 2020 season. He was playing for Jacksonville then.

It’s his first start since that Jan. 9 Seahawks game at Arizona — the night after his chance passing with Carroll in the team hotel.

“Since that talk, man, everything has just been a lot different in my life,” Jones said Wednesday.

“Nobody has ever taken the time out, especially a head coach has never taken the time out, to really, truly understand me, and for me to be transparent with him. He listened. He took it from his perspective, and he understood where I was coming from, as well.”

Carroll remembers that hotel talk with Jones, and that he was telling the player something Jones, eight months ago, might not have believed. The coach knew in January that Jones’ contract was ending the next day. He also knew his Seahawks needed trusted depth at safety behind Adams, as this month is proving.

The man who revived a college-football dynasty at USC in the early 2000s was recruiting again.

“We sat down the night before the game and we mapped out this future, because he looked like he should be a part of what we are doing,” Carroll said. “He hadn’t had much success up until then, and I don’t think he really believed what I was telling him.

“Because I was telling him that he was going to be a big part of what was going on.

“He was hesitant to accept that. Then he made a big decision this offseason to go for it, and we have seen great results.

“He’s having a blast, so we are really happy to have him.”

Josh Jones almost quit in April

But it wasn’t that easy.

Jones didn’t just take what Carroll said to him in that hotel lobby eight months ago and go right back into the Seahawks’ defense.

In March, Jones became an unrestricted free agent. The Seahawks offered the native of Chicago who went to high school outside Detroit a one-year contract worth $1,085,000. That’s about the league minimum for a player with Jones’ five years of NFL experience.

Jones let Seattle’s offer sit for a month without signing it. In that span, he fired his agent.

His third child, son Carter, was three months from being born. His three kids live 2,600 miles from Seattle, in Atlanta. He knew the Seahawks had re-signed Adams to a $70 million deal, the richest contract for a safety in NFL history. Then they re-signed Diggs to a $40 million deal. Jones knew he wasn’t going to start over either one of them.

He was thinking of quitting football.

“I was tired of going through what I was going through in the league, man,” he said. “I was like, ‘I’m tired of everything. My career hasn’t gone how I wanted it to go. I might be done, man.’”

Then, Carroll called him. Another random-chance talk with the coach. It was on a Saturday in April, just before the NFL draft.

“What’s going on?” Carroll asked Jones, meaning with him not signing the Seahawks’ contract offer.

“I don’t know, Pete. I don’t know,” Jones told his coach. “I’ve got to think.

“Let me call you Monday and see where I’m at.”

“But I was just fed up, man,” Jones said Wednesday. “I thought it was just going to be the same as it was in the past. …”

Jones said he took it as “a sign” that Carroll called at the height of his doubts.

A sign to sign the contract.

“Again, we had a conversation,” Jones said. “He said, obviously I have to understand that nothing is guaranteed and I would have to work for everything.”

Carroll also told Jones that he and new defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt had plans for Jones for 2022.

It was to be a third safety in a new defensive scheme. The new plan would put Jones and Diggs back deep in pass coverage and Adams up closer to the line of scrimmage to blitz and pressure opposing quarterbacks more like he did while setting an NFL record for defensive backs with 9 1/2 sacks in 2020 for Seattle. .

That plan was working midway into the second quarter Monday night. Jones entered the game and stayed back with Diggs. Adams lined up right behind nose tackle Al Woods. Adams blitzed at the snap untouched up the middle, directly into Wilson. Only Wilson’s wild throw incomplete off nearby linemen while Adams was throwing him to the ground kept it from being a sack.

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Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson (3) gets a pass away before being tackled by Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams (33) during the first quarter of an NFL game on Monday, Sept. 12, 2022, at Lumen Field in Seattle. Pete Caster Pete Caster / The News Tribune

That’s the play where Adams injured his knee and quadriceps.

And it’s when Carroll’s hotel talk and phone call with Jones became huge for this Seahawks season.

Yes, as you can tell by now, Jones indeed re-signed with Seattle, in May — only after talking to Carroll on the phone.

“Again, the conversations with him that made me (think), ‘OK, I can do this, man,'” Jones said.

“I’m here because of Pete. …

“Here I am.”

This story was originally published September 15, 2022 5:30 AM.

Profile Image of Gregg Bell

Gregg Bell is the Seahawks and NFL writer for The News Tribune. In January 2019 he was named the Washington state sportswriter of the year by the National Sports Media Association. He started covering the NFL in 2002 as the Oakland Raiders beat writer for The Sacramento Bee. The Ohio native began covering the Seahawks in their first Super Bowl season of 2005. In a prior life he graduated from West Point and served as a tactical intelligence officer in the US Army, so he may ask you to drop and give him 10.



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