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Julio Jones to skip Falcons' preseason schedule again

Jones said Tuesday he will be coaching the team's younger wide receivers in Thursday night's Hall of Fame game against the Denver Broncos in Canton, Ohio.

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. (AP) — For the second straight year, Julio Jones will sit out the Atlanta Falcons' full preseason schedule.

Jones said Tuesday he will be coaching the team's younger wide receivers in Thursday night's Hall of Fame game against the Denver Broncos in Canton, Ohio.

Jones and the Falcons continue to negotiate a contract extension. Jones said his preseason plan has nothing to do with those talks.

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"I'm a veteran. I've been doing this," Jones said. "I don't need preseason to get ready. ... I'll get my reps in practice. I practice the way I play. When I get my reps in, I'll be ready to play."

Jones has been working his way back from a foot injury in training camp.

Falcons coach Dan Quinn said he's confident Jones will be ready for the season.

"We've got a good plan in order," Quinn said. "We know where we need to get him to."

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After missing the preseason schedule last year, Jones led the NFL with 1,677 yards receiving. He joins receivers Mohamed Sanu and Calvin Ridley and tight end Austin Hooper as quarterback Matt Ryan's top targets.

Jones, 30, is a two-time All-Pro and six-time Pro Bowl receiver. He has two years remaining on his five-year, $71.5 million contract, but he now ranks only 12th among the league's top-paid receivers.

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The Falcons gave him a modest $2.9 million last year. This time, Jones is expected to receive a new long-term deal. He has said he wants to play his entire career in Atlanta.

Despite Jones' nagging physical problems, which frequently force him to miss practice, there is a reason the Falcons have confidence in his health in 2019: He has not missed a game the past two seasons and is looking to extend a string of five consecutive seasons with at least 1,400 yards.

Jones ranks fifth among active players with 698 career catches and 10,731 yards receiving.

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