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Chandler Jones Settles In With Cardinals

Star outside linebacker excelling on the field as he gets comfortable off it


Cardinals outside linebacker with his sack and forced-fumble of Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett on Sunday.

Chandler Jones, like many twenty-somethings, is a proud first-time homeowner.

The Cardinals' outside linebacker found a pad in Paradise Valley this offseason, and after years living back East, is excited for the backyard lounge days in his future.

"When it's supposed to be snowing out, that's when the weather (in Arizona) is the best," Jones said. "I've got a swimming pool, so I'll be in the hot tub and the swimming pool whenever I get a chance."

A former first-round draft pick of the Patriots, Jones has long had enough money to purchase a house, but it took until March 10 – the day he signed a lucrative five-year extension with the Cardinals – for him to feel comfortable putting down roots.

Jones admits he was wounded by the trade from New England after the 2015 season, and his future with the Cardinals seemed uncertain before the long-term deal was reached. With that business out of the way, Jones can finally exhale.

"I have a place to call home," Jones said.

As Jones settles in off the field, he's dominating on it.

He has been one of the team's most dynamic players through the first two games of 2017 with three sacks, a forced fumble and five tackles for loss. The fantastic start has not gone unnoticed by coach Bruce Arians, who called Jones a top-five edge-rusher league-wide after a big game on Sunday against the Colts.

"He was outstanding," Arians said. "That tackle did an OK job. I thought there could be a few more holding penalties, but (Jones) was relentless in his pass rush."

Jones has 26½ sacks dating back to the start of 2015, which is second only to Raiders star Khalil Mack, who has a half-sack more. Despite a dominance that spans two teams and multiple teammates, Jones deflects the praise.

"A lot of those plays where you see me getting pressures and see me getting sacks, if you look at the film, these (receivers) are blanketed," Jones said. "A lot of the success comes from Ty (Mathieu), Pat (Peterson) and that secondary."

Jones is not boastful, which his teammates learned upon his arrival to Arizona. Kareem Martin said Jones was shy when they first met, and his personality didn't come out until the outside linebackers group decided to take a vacation to Los Angeles.

"We'd only known him a couple of weeks and we took a trip together, not knowing the guy, not knowing how he'd be," Martin said. "But we all felt that connection together. We all just kind of clicked when we got together. If you travel with somebody, there's a lot to learn about them. We haven't missed a beat ever since."

Jones' growth has been evident as he now feels at ease as a leader in the locker room. He has a near-perpetual smile on his face and is much more willing to be vocal when needed, knowing he's a core member of the club.

"He was able to take that sigh of relief," Martin said. "'I know where I'm going to be for the next 'X' amount of years. I can put my footprint here in Arizona.'"

Jones' address might say Paradise Valley, but through two weeks, he's been living in opposing backfields. If he keeps that up, he won't have to worry about leaving any time soon.

"It's an amazing feeling (to be settled)," Jones said. "A part of my motivation was getting traded. It's not a good feeling. But I love being here in Arizona. I don't want to get traded again. I go out here and I try to work hard every day and I practice hard every day. Hopefully they keep me here five-plus years."

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