FOXBOROUGH — There was a familiar face back at Patriots practice Wednesday as the team signed Cyrus Jones off the Ravens practice squad to a two-year deal. The cornerback/return specialist had been released by New England on cutdown day and signed with his hometown Ravens shortly afterward.
Jones, New England’s second-round selection in 2016, missed all of 2017 with a torn ACL. He was still rehabbing the injury when training camp opened this year but came on strong over the final two exhibition games, showing the vision, burst, and acceleration he had been known for in college.
Coach Bill Belichick lamented the fact that the team wasn’t able to give Jones more chances to show his return abilities during the preseason.
With the team releasing Kenjon Barner, and with Julian Edelman still two weeks from returning from his suspension, Jones could step in immediately as the punt returner against the Lions Sunday night.
Jones had a difficult time in his rookie year, muffing a handful of punts. There were days during training camp when the Patriots had him work on almost nothing besides catching punts. He’d line up deep for punt after punt and work on ball security.
Jones may get some opportunities to jump in the mix on defense, but punt returning will likely be his primary job. With Edelman suspended and Patrick Chung dealing with a concussion, the Patriots ran out of options at punt returner late in last Sunday’s game against the Jaguars.