ATHENS, Ga. -- Jarvis Jones was wearing a large ice pack on his left thigh on Wednesday. The Georgia linebacker shrugged when asked about it.
“Oh, it’s just football,” Jones said, laughing.
And Jones is cleared to just play football after another weight, a smaller one in his mind, had already been taken off of him.
The sophomore from Carver spoke to reporters Wednesday for the first time since finding out he was cleared after an investigation into his relationship with his AAU basketball coach.
The NCAA agreed with a finding by a UGA internal inquiry that Jones had a pre-existing relationship with Tony Adams, whom police records showed purchased plane tickets and other items for Jones.
Jones reiterated Wednesday that he has known the people at the Columbus Parks and Rec Department since he was 11 or 12 years old. UGA compliance director Eric Baumgartner said the NCAA’s finding was that the relationship met the pre-existing standard because it dated back to before Jones was a football prospect.
“If you’ve been reading the reports and everything, that definitely tells you that the people that were involved were in my life since I was a young age,” Jones said. “It’s been quite a while. They still mentor me, I still talk to them, they’re still my family.”
For that reason, Jones said he felt all along he would be fine.
“I knew I didn’t do anything, I knew the situation was good from the get-go,” he said. “There was just some business people needed to go through and investigate what they needed to do. And they handled it real well.”
Not for one day, according to Jones, did he ever stress over his situation or worry that he would be suspended. So when the news came down Tuesday that he was cleared, he didn’t call anyone to celebrate -- but the text messages rolled in from others.
“Some of the people that it did effect, like some of the people that did know about it, they were kind of worried,” Jones said. “Some teammates kind of asked me about it. Now it’s over we can move on, and we can prepare the best way we can.”
Jones is slotted to start at outside linebacker and expected to play a big role on the Georgia defense. He showed a glimpse of his abilities in a scrimmage Wednesday, when according to the team he had six tackles -- four of them solo -- and three sacks.
“He’s had a good camp,” coach Mark Richt said. “He plays very aggressive. He runs to the ball extremely well.”
It was Richt who delivered the news to his defensive coaches on Tuesday that Jones was cleared.
“There was pretty good celebration there. Pretty excited about that,” Richt said.
The Jones saga wasn’t as big a story in all quarters, however: Defensive end Abry Jones claimed he didn’t even know about it until this week.
“This is the first time I’m even hearing about it,” Jones said.
“But seeing as how we kind of dodged a missile, it’s a little calming thing. Taking Jarvis out would be taking out a real big piece.”