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Falcons' Deion Jones sees no red flags regarding repaired shoulder


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Falcons' Deion Jones sees no red flags regarding repaired shoulder

Vaughn McClure

Atlanta Falcons rookie linebacker Deion Jones said there is no reason to be concerned about his surgically repaired left shoulder that drew red flags from at least two teams during the draft process.

The second-round draft pick from LSU, who hails from New Orleans and goes by the nickname of "Debo", was surprised about the attention his shoulder received, considering it was an injury dating back to high school.

"My shoulder is fine; it’s strong," Jones told ESPN.com. "I had surgery in high school."

Jones played in 51 games (13 starts) over four seasons at LSU. LSU coach Les Miles told reporters that Jones started to make "big-time plays" once he came to LSU and was able to rehab the shoulder.

So why was the shoulder such a pre-draft issue?

"I have no clue," Jones said.

Did it make Jones angry?

"No, not at all," he said. "I know what it was able to do. It never restricted me in any way. And I’m blessed someone took a chance on me. Like I said, it was something that happened in high school. I didn’t know it would affect me later on, but it’s all good."

Wayde Keiser, Jones’ coach at New Orleans Jesuit High School, said he even received a few calls from NFL teams inquiring about Jones' shoulder. The Falcons weren’t one of those teams, although they reportedly called the LSU trainer about it prior to drafting Jones.

"It was Week 10 of his senior season and two series before (the game-winning drive) on defense, his shoulder popped out," Keiser recalled. "They worked on him on the sideline and put him back in. He also, when we needed him every now and then, we'd put him in at receiver. ... So he catches the pass that sets up the winning touchdown -- with a hurt shoulder. He goes back in and plays. I mean, it's (separated). He was going to have to have it repaired after the season. So we hold him out one week, then he plays the next three weeks.

"What's crazy about it is that many of these NFL teams, they go all the way back to their high school days. It started happening about six or seven years ago when teams would call me about kids who I had coached that were possible draft choices. And I had to let them know that Debo's shoulder was not an issue. He got it cleaned up and went on the play at LSU. He never had a problem in the weight room at LSU. He was phenomenal in the weight room."

Jones had 18 bench press reps of 225 pounds during his Pro Day.

The Falcons expect the 6-foot-1-inch, 230-plus-pound Jones to make an immediate impact with his blazing speed. He’ll compete with Paul Worrilow at Mike linebacker, a position Jones believes he’s can adjust to instantly after being projected more as a Will linebacker.

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