Chris Jones says staying with Chiefs was ‘plan from beginning’

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the time he was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs in 2016, through his eight seasons with the team and particularly as he was negotiating his new contract, defensive tackle Chris Jones never lost his desire to finish his playing career where it started.

“For me, that was the plan from the beginning,” Jones said Tuesday, a day after signing his new deal. “Since [the Chiefs] drafted me, I never planned to play for another organization. Deep down I felt like I was never leaving. … I always figured that something could be done.

“I wanted to leave a legacy in Kansas City.”

Jones, a key member of the Chiefs as they won three Super Bowl championships in the past five seasons, should get the chance to add to his legacy and finish his career in Kansas City. He agreed to a five-year contract worth almost $159 million on Saturday, two days before he was set to become eligible to negotiate with other teams.

Jones wound up getting the contract he wanted from his preferred team. He wouldn’t say which of the two he prioritized or what he would have done had the Chiefs not met his contract demands, though he did say, “There’s no other organization I would want to play for.”

“I don’t want to say a bigger goal, because the main goal for me is always winning, putting myself in a position to win and to do it with the team that drafted me.” Jones said. “I think those are the two biggest goals … you can hit within the process of free agency, do it with a team you’ve been winning with and they reward you for it.”

Discussions on the new contract started last spring, when Jones was headed into the final season of his existing deal. The sides could reach only a temporary solution, one that reworked the remaining year to give him some incentives, and only after Jones’ holdout carried into the season.

Jones said that gave him some doubts at times during the season about his future with the Chiefs. Those doubts hit hardest, he said, before the Super Bowl LVIII win over the San Francisco 49ers. He had tears running down his face during the pregame national anthem.

But the Chiefs were motivated to retain Jones, giving him a contract that is not only the largest for an interior defensive lineman in terms of value but also in annual average ($31.75 million).

Jones indicated he wouldn’t lose any motivation because of the contract, saying his goal will remain to “just chase greatness.”

“I don’t think that will change, and no amount of money can change my love and passion for the game of football,” Jones said. “No matter how successful I’ll be, I’m always chasing greater heights. I think the Chiefs understand and see my perspective of the game and how much I love the game of football.”

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