Chiefs defensive tackle Chris Jones was not sure if he would get back to the Super Bowl with the team during last year’s game.
“You know it’s crazy … during the game, they have Frank Clark miked up, and the Chiefs never put this out,” Jones said. “I looked at Frank around the third quarter. I’m like, ‘Man, this might be our last time playing together.’ ”
Jones did not have a contract for 2021, and there was a question of whether Kansas City would re-sign him. Jones had 31 sacks in three seasons and had been a valuable member of the Chiefs’ championship team, but Kansas City had little salary cap space and were going to have to give quarterback Patrick Mahomes a big-money extension.
“I didn’t know,” admitted Jones. “I know Pat had to get his deal done and that was going to take a lot of the salary cap. I didn’t know if the Chiefs were going to be able to bring me back.”
The Chiefs ended up signing Jones to a four-year, $85 million contract in July after placing the franchise tag on him in the spring. Mahomes’ 10-year deal left some money on the table for the team to sign Jones.
“I’m very fortunate to still be a part of this team, still be with a coach like Andy Reid and [Steve Spagnuolo], I’m very fortunate,” he said. “And I was ready to come back — you know, I didn’t want to leave Kansas City. This is the team that believed in me since day one. [Director of college scouting] Ryne Nutt, [general manager] Brett Veach, the Hunt family, [team president] Mr. [Mark] Donovan — they all took a chance on a kid.
“John Dorsey was the GM at that time and I’m just appreciative of those guys — took a chance on a kid from Houston [Mississippi] that went to Mississippi State, and I wanted to stay with this team.”
Jones had 7.5 sacks this season and he will be a key for the Chiefs in stopping Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady on Sunday. Jones is not shy in his desire to get another ring.
“This is why you play the game,” Jones said. “I’m trying to get in the Hall of Fame one day. When I retire, I want to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. This is the reason you play the game. I want to retire with like six or seven rings.”