No one should have to endure what Marvin Jones has gone through the past eight months.
Before the coronavirus pandemic brought much of the nation to a halt, and after an ankle injury ended his 2019 season, Jones’ infant son Marlo died unexpectedly at 6 months old.
On Thursday, after the Detroit Lions’ second practice of training camp, Jones spoke publicly about the tragedy for the first time.
“I think what gives me strength is you find out that there’s a lot of stories of people that obviously stuff like that has happened to them, losing a family member,” Jones said, “and that was obviously the first time that’s happened to me on a level of that magnitude. “… I don’t think you can ever really fully cope with it. I have my days, but at the same time there are thousands and thousands of people who reached out to me about their experiences and stuff like that.”
Jones announced his son’s passing in an Instagram post Dec. 28. He called Marlo “a piece of my family’s heart” and “our fighter from day one,” and the next day he received an emotional ovation from fans before the Lions’ season-ending loss to the Green Bay Packers at Ford Field.
Jones declined Thursday to say what led to his son’s passing, but he said the outpouring of support he received from fans was “an experience that I very much appreciated.”
“It was just a powerful moment that I think was good for us and good for my family,” he said. “So yeah, that’s pretty much all I’ll say about that. But my son’s in a better place, so that makes me happy. And that’s it for that topic.”
Since his son’s passing, Jones has spent most of his time in California with his wife, Jazymn, and the couple’s four children, boys Marvin III, Mareon and Murrell, and daughter, Mya.
He spent the pandemic working out at the gym he built at his San Diego home, the “BZN Training Facility.” He added a puppy, a red European Doberman named Fuego, to his family; Marvin and Jazymn flew to Oregon to pick up the puppy earlier this summer.
And he said he’ll spend this fall away from his wife and kids for the first time as a pro.
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Typically, the Joneses split their time between California and Michigan, with the entire family in metro Detroit during football season.
“This year, it’s a little bit different and I think mainly because my kids are getting older and they’re in sports and stuff like that,” Jones said. “That was a part of it. That was going to happen even before the pandemic started. We have a little process and obviously it can change with them having school online.”
Jones, 30, is in the final season of his contract with the Lions. He said he never considered opting out of the season despite all he’s experienced.
“I was (home) for about 8 months,” he said. “It’s time to play football.”
On the field, Jones should be a key part of the Lions’ offense this fall after finishing the last two years on injured reserve.
He was on pace to set career highs in receptions and touchdowns when he injured his ankle in a December loss to the Minnesota Vikings, and this year he should team with Matthew Stafford, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson to give the Lions one of the most explosive passing games in the NFL.
“We’re just glad that we’re all in here together and finally getting some football done,” said Jones, who finished with 62 catches for 779 yards and nine touchdowns last season. “The sky’s the limit, but obviously we just have to continue to work, and that’s what we do every day so it’s exciting.”
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