It didn’t take cornerback Jack Jones long to get over the sting of being released by the New England Patriots this week.

The fact it was the Raiders and his high school and college coach Antonio Pierce, the Raiders’ interim coach, who claimed him off waivers helped the process.

“It stung for sure,” Jones said Wednesday after his first practice with the Raiders. “That was the team that drafted me. Your mindset is you’re going to spend the first four years there. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.

“But this is a blessing. I’m not going to lie. I feel like everything happened for a reason, and I’m happy to be here, blessed to be here and ready to get to work.”

Jones, a fourth-round pick of New England in 2022, did not get into specifics of his departure from New England.

“I would say it just wasn’t the best fit,” said Jones, whose tenure was marked by an off-the-field incident and rumors of discontentment. “I can’t speak too much about it because I’m not on the coaching staff. It just wasn’t the best fit.


“I still have some fire behind me. I kind of feel I have something to prove without going out of my way to try to prove it. I just want to show everybody I’m a good player and not someone you can just shoo away. I’m not saying that was the case with the Patriots. Whatever happened, it just didn’t work out. That’s why I ended up here. I just want to show everyone I’m a good player.”

Jones said he is working diligently to get up to speed on the playbook and hopes to contribute as soon as possible.

Pierce believes Jones can do that.

“In high school, he was about 120 (pounds), and I think now he’s 170. He ain’t got much weight,” Pierce said jokingly about how much he’s grown since they met. “But listen, maturity, the kid’s been through a lot. I’ve known him since he was very young, obviously that’s been documented. I’ve seen the growth of development. Nobody’s perfect, I don’t expect him to be perfect. That’s my job as well, to bring him along and our staff and our organization to help him if he needs be. But the football player is extremely gifted, and I expect him to do such.”

BEARS: Chicago will have Justin Fields back at quarterback Sunday against the Detroit Lions for a stretch of games that could be critical to his future with the team.

Coach Matt Eberflus announced the move following four missed starts by Fields because of a right dislocated thumb.


“Our plan is to start him on Sunday,” Eberflus said. “He continues to progress this week. Returning to practice today is going to be a big part of the evaluation.”

A decision on Fields’ fifth-year contract option is due next spring and the Bears can use this seven-week stretch to help decide if they want to go forward with Fields or possibly use one of their two first-round draft picks on a quarterback.

PACKERS: Aaron Rodgers will have the final call on whether he plays again this season for the New York Jets – if and when he gets medical clearance.

Coach Robert Saleh said Wednesday the team will defer to the four-time NFL MVP, who’s rehabilitating from a torn left Achilles tendon four snaps into his debut with the Jets on Sept. 11.

“Aaron’s a big boy, a grown man, and no one’s going to know Aaron’s body like Aaron knows his body,” Saleh said. “And if he feels, after all the doctors clear him – and I’m sure there’s a million of them, I have no idea on that stuff – but if Aaron says he wants to play, he’s going to play.”

In other words, the Jets won’t stand in the way of a healthy Rodgers returning when he’s ready.

PANTHERS: Carolina Coach Frank Reich is retaking control of the team’s offensive play calling less than a month after handing over the reigns to offensive coordinator Thomas Brown.

Reich initially gave up play-calling duties on Oct. 16 before Carolina’s bye week. The Panthers have gone 1-2 since with Brown calling plays, but the team scored only two offensive touchdowns during that span. Reich had called plays for the first six games of the season, all Carolina losses.

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