Bills Maven

Zay Jones' silence leads to more questions than answers

Second-year wide receiver whiffed on opportunity to halt speculation about bizarre offseason incident

My youngest son has Type I diabetes. He was diagnosed about 4½ years ago, when he was 9. His medical history is worth noting because, if his glucose levels drop to a dangerous range and I'm not there to respond, he'll need immediate medical attention.

Now you know.

In similar vein, Bills receiver Zay Jones should explain his bizarre behavior March 19, when he was found naked and arguing with his brother in a Los Angeles apartment complex. He was arrested on suspicion of vandalism after police found broken glass doors and windows at the scene. The charges were later dropped.

The dispute was caught on camera. In the video, Jones could be heard saying he was going to “fight for Jesus.” A woman can be heard saying it looked like a “murder scene.” The clip also showed blood spattered across walls of the residence.

So what happened?

We may never know because Jones refused to provide details about the incident Sunday while meeting with reporters after participating in his first workout of training camp at St. John Fisher College. He did tell the media that he was grateful because he could have died.

"I think I would be doing myself a very big disservice if I went back to there," Jones said. "That moment was very traumatic for me and my family. To rehash that now at this point in time wouldn't be doing me any good. ... I'm just trying to look forward.”

Jones was not obligated to explain his behavior. He understandably wanted to put the incident behind him and resume proving himself to the Bills after a disappointing rookie season. He was cleared for non-contract drills after missing the first eight days of camp.

He needs to catch up, especially after the Bills acquired former first-round pick Corey Coleman from the Browns. The Bills will take a long look at Coleman as a potential upgrade from Jones, who had only 27 catches for 316 yards, dropped numerous passes and didn’t have a completion longer than 33 yards last season.

"We've got our work cut out for us and Zay knows that," Bills coach Sean McDerott told the media in Pittsford, N.Y. "It’s not something that can’t be achieved, [but] we’ve got to just continue to work at it and get him up to speed as quickly as we can. At the same time, [we need to do it] at the right pace."

Off the field, Jones' refusal to provide more information about what happened in March merely raised more questions about him. If people knew what happened, they would have a better grasp on how they should react. They might be more sympathetic toward his issue.

Most would understand, for example, if Jones had medical or mental-health issues that contributed to his strange behavior that evening. He had shoulder and knee surgeries in the offseason after a year littered with dropped passes.

Perhaps he didn’t take medication as prescribed. Or perhaps he had an adverse reaction to prescription drugs. Perhaps alcohol was involved.

Or perhaps it was something else.

Jones can handle the incident however he chooses, but in doing so he fails to address the possibility that “something else” caused him to temporarily fall off the rails. That’s what makes the incident, after which he thanked his brother for saving his life, so troubling.

For him in particular, his behavior that evening was cause for concern. It was a drastic departure from the mature, intelligent rookie who carried himself like a professional last season. Many would agree that he was among the least likely candidates on the roster to be associated with such peculiar behavior.

Richie Incognito? Yes. That would make sense.

Zay Jones? No.

Jones’ refusal to explain the situation makes you wonder whether he’s hiding something.

This is not an accusation, merely an observation, but his behavior seemed consistent with someone who had been using synthetic marijuana. He was not asked by reporters after practice Sunday whether he had used the legal but potentially dangerous drug.

Of course, that leads to more questions, and greater debate, about whether natural marijuana should be included on the NFL’s list of banned substances. Recreational marijuana use is legal in nine states, including four that have NFL teams, plus the District of Columbia.

If you remember, in April 2017, former Bills offensive lineman Cyrus Kouandijo was discovered undressed in a wooded area in suburban Buffalo and asked deputies to shoot him. He required medical attention for an undisclosed condition. The Bills released him a month later.

In January 2016, former Patriots defensive lineman Chandler Jones reportedly was hospitalized after a bad reaction to synthetic weed. The drug has since been added to the NFL’s list of banned substances.

Until Zay Jones clarifies more information about his situation, others are left to speculate. If he didn’t do anything wrong, he should have nothing to hide. If he did something that could get him into trouble with the Bills or the NFL, maybe it’s better left unsaid.

We’ll see how he and the Bills respond.