The man who was part of arguably the most exciting play in franchise history is no longer with the Ravens.
Veteran return specialist and wide receiver Jacoby Jones was released on Wednesday to end his three-year run in Baltimore. Though his role as a receiver diminished and his explosiveness and reliability waned in 2014, Jones will forever be remembered for catching the miracle 70-yard touchdown from Joe Flacco to force overtime in the Ravens’ 38-35 overtime win over Denver in the 2012 divisional round.
Jones followed that performance with two touchdowns in Super Bowl XLVII, staking a strong claim for the Most Valuable Player award that ultimately went to Flacco.
“We don’t win Super Bowl XLVII without Jacoby,” general manager Ozzie Newsome said in a team release. “You immediately think of the touchdown against Denver in the divisional round and then the big plays in that Super Bowl — the long touchdown from Joe and the [108-yard] kickoff to open the second half. He also had a big punt return in that game. Jacoby was an outstanding Raven and a good teammate on and off the field.”
The 30-year-old was scheduled to count for $3.375 million against the 2015 salary cap in the second season of a four-year, $12 million contract signed last winter. Unless the Ravens were to give Jones a post-June 1 designation that would push $1.75 million in dead money to next season, they will save only $750,000 in cap space by terminating his contract. He was scheduled to make a $2.5 million base salary in each of the next three years.
Reunited with former Houston Texans head coach Gary Kubiak last season, Jones disappeared in the new coordinator’s offense, catching just nine passes for 131 yards. He remained a threat as a return specialist this past season — returning a kickoff 108 yards for a touchdown in a loss at Pittsburgh — but ball security became a concern as he fumbled four times, losing two of them.
Originally signed by the Ravens in 2012, Jones earned Pro Bowl honors that year and produced a 30.1-yard career kickoff return average in his three-year run, the best mark in franchise history. He scored a total of six touchdowns on returns with the Ravens.
Jones registered 76 catches for 992 yards and three touchdowns in regular-season play over the last three years.
“We thank Jacoby for what he did for us,” head coach John Harbaugh said in a statement. “You think of how many games where his returns or long catches were the difference in winning – at Pittsburgh, Dallas, the 2012 playoff run to the championships and that great Minnesota game in the snow and ice at M&T Bank Stadium come to mind immediately. He was invaluable to our success. Opponents, especially on special teams, schemed to stop him. What a compliment to him.
“Jacoby is one of my most favorite players ever to coach, an absolute joy to be around. He’s a good person with a good heart.”