The Suffolk County district attorney’s office dropped its charges against Patriots cornerback Jack Jones on Tuesday, five days ahead of the team’s season opener.
According to the DA’s office, Judge John E. McDonald Jr. placed Jones, 25, on pre-trial probation, with the following conditions: no new offenses and 48 hours of community service focused on outreach and education regarding the dangers of firearms, firearm safety, and the proper handling of firearms.
In June, Jones was arrested at Logan Airport after TSA found two firearms in his carry-on luggage. He was initially charged with two counts of the following five offenses: possession of a concealed weapon in a secure area of an airport, possession of ammunition without a firearm identification card, unlawful possession of a firearm, carrying a loaded firearm, and possession of a large-capacity feeding device, according to a state police report obtained by the Globe.
DA Kevin Hayden said Tuesday the state verified Jones purchased both firearms legally in Arizona and has taken steps to become a lawful gun owner in Massachusetts.
All gun charges have now been dropped as part of the deal reached Tuesday. The agreement did not require that Jones plead guilty.
“The Commonwealth states that consistent with its standard of review in all cases, it has thoroughly reviewed all the evidence in this case and determined that it cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Mr. Jones had knowledge that he possessed the firearms in his bag at the time of the incident,” said Hayden in a nolle prosequi obtained by the Globe.
After appearing in court for his arraignment June 20, Jones was scheduled to appear Aug. 19, but that date was pushed to Sept. 15 before getting moved to Tuesday.
“We’re very grateful that the gun charges were dismissed,” Rosemary Scapicchio, Jones’s attorney, said in a statement to the Globe. “He’s looking forward to spending 100 percent of his time on football.”
Throughout the legal situation, Jones did not miss a Patriots practice. He began training camp by taking snaps primarily with the backups, but eventually spent more time with the starting unit. He is one of New England’s options on the perimeter, joining rookie Christian Gonzalez and veteran Jonathan Jones.
Jones played 54 percent of the defensive snaps in New England’s preseason finale, which was surprising because the majority of starters did not suit up. The amount of playing time could be reflective of the team’s uncertainty in Jones’s availability moving forward because the NFL could still discipline him for violating its personal conduct policy.
According to the policy, players can be subject to discipline “even if the conduct does not result in a criminal conviction.”
Jones last spoke to the media Aug. 23, when he said he hoped to be available for Week 1. He said he had not yet heard from the league regarding potential punishment.
Coach Bill Belichick has not said much about Jones’s status, citing the ongoing legal process. Belichick is scheduled to address the media Wednesday.
A Patriots spokesman said he does not anticipate a statement from the team.