QUARTERBACK MAC JONES
Thursday, January 8, 2023
MJ: Just a little quick opening statement. Obviously, the past couple of days have been tough for everybody. Obviously, our thoughts and prayers are with Damar [Hamlin] and his family. Sounds like he's definitely making some good progress and as a player, we love this game and it's just tough to see that happen. We know that he loves this game too. Got a chance to compete against him a couple times here, just a great guy and you can see all the support around the world, really, just for the game of football and for him, his family. My thoughts and prayers are with him. I think the power of prayer definitely showed and I hope that he continues to make progress and all that. Definitely with him and definitely a tough, tough week for everybody here, but a lot of good conversation and we're all here for him and his family.
Q: How tough was it to come in the building yesterday with all going on, nobody knew what was happening, nobody knew if the game was going to take place and start preparing for a must-win game?
MJ: Yeah, I think everything revolves around him and his family and making sure that he's okay. That's what we were really worried about. Obviously, the game is the game, right? But at the end of the day, we're all here, we have a job to do, but really we're just concerned about him, his family and just trying to get updates and make sure that he's okay and be there for the Bills and their organization as well. Definitely a lot of emotions and things like that running around and to try and stay focused on the game is hard. It's a hard thing to do and that's just one thing you have to do is focus on each day. Obviously, send your prayers and also continue your routine as best you can. It's definitely hard but everything revolves around him and making sure that hopefully he's doing better and that he's okay.
Q: Mac, how would you say the practices have gone? Have you been able to get through things and has the routine of what goes on here everyday kind of helped the process?
MJ: Yeah, I think listening to Devin [McCourty], there's been a lot of really good conversations. It's been tough for everybody, players, coaches. You just think about him in his position and we all just want him to be okay. At the end of the day, it's all about conversations and coming together and just not taking anything for granted. That's every day, coming to work and trying to have a positive attitude and just coming together and praying and doing all those things. There's a game on our mind, but there's also a lot bigger things than football itself. We're definitely still feeling it and we feel for him and his family and all that. Just trying to do everything we can to prepare, but at the same time, we're all there for him.
Q: How does that type of injury affect you from a mental standpoint? You know obviously that injuries can happen, and they can be severe, but to see it happen in that sense, is that something that you and other players are kind of reconciling?
MJ: Yeah, I think it's definitely a tough thing to see, right? As a player, you just never want to see anybody get hurt and definitely not like that and it really goes back to conversating and coming together and just talking through things. We have great medical team here and obviously, they did there too, in the hospital and on the field, everything. Every situation you're in, there's a lot of support around you, whatever the injury is and obviously that's a tough one. Really just trying to play that the game that we love and not focus on anything too much, but it's definitely tough.
Q: Motivation and emotion are so important in football, as you know. How do you think the Bills are going to come at you on Sunday? Are you concerned you might be facing like a freight train here?
MJ: Yeah, I think, like I said earlier, it's all about Damar and his family and obviously, him being on their team, that's a lot of motivation just to play for him. I mean, we're all playing for him, right? We all want to be out there and compete and that's what he does when he's out there. He's all over the tape, you see him making plays and it's just tough to see that he's hurt so bad, but at the end of the day, we've got to go out there and compete really just honor him on both sides of the ball. Obviously, have a respect for the Bills and everything they've been through this past week it's really tough obviously, we're not in their situation, but we're all in this together. I think it's important to realize football is a game that brings people together and I think this is a great example of bringing not only our teams together, but the whole league, the whole world really, the whole nation. I think it's a really tough time, but you can see all the support for him and his family and I really hope that he just continues to get better.
Q: Mac, you mentioned the sympathy that you have for the Bills and their team as they're going through this, do you think going into a game against them, will it be hard to work up the usual level of intensity for a game, understanding the way you feel about those guys right now?
MJ: Yeah, I think it's a big game. At the end of the day, there's a lot of respect for the team we're going against and obviously, in the situation that they're in, it's just being there for them however we can and we've done that all week. Obviously, on the game, there's a lot of emotions flying. That's every game, but obviously this game, very much so, too. Really just trying to accept all the emotions and just be there for their team and whatever we're going to do and all that. When the kickoff starts, you kind of just have to go out there and play and compete against a really good team. It all revolves around him and just being there for him in whatever way we can.
Q: I'm not sure if you heard that Damar came into consciousness and supposedly asked the doctor what the score was in the game. Can you just talk about a player's mentality, I mean obviously he's gone through this whole thing and that's his first question?
MJ: Yeah, I think every update that we get in the locker room, everyone's super excited to hear that each time he's doing better and we're all super excited. Honestly, that's pretty wild. You can tell that he's a competitor, right? And that's the first thing he's asking and all that. I think that's who we are as people. We love the game of football and obviously I'm just so glad he's doing better and his family hopefully can start talking with him and doing all that stuff. Really just him and his family, prayers to them. Obviously, he's a great competitor and hope he has a speedy recovery here. All thoughts and prayers are with him and his family.