Julio Jones

The Atlanta Falcons and star receiver Julio Jones are reportedly not in a great place heading into training camp next month.

Jones recently informed the team he was holding out of minicamp as he aims for a new contract, and in the meantime he’s been spending time with Terrell Owens.

The first part is troublesome enough from the perspective of the Falcons.

I dived into that a bit recently (check that out here), and my thoughts on the matter are echoed by team beat writer D. Orlando Ledbetter in a recent appearances on ESPN 730AM The Game.

“It’s in a bad place right now,” Ledbetter said of Jones’ relationship with the Falcons, via Cory Woodroof of the Falcoholic. “Coach [Dan Quinn] was expecting him in here. He told us that at the owners meeting when I talked to him down there in Orlando, and then, a few weeks later, Julio informed that he’s not going to be here.”

It’s worth pointing out that Jones still has three years left on his contract. That puts him in an extremely weak position as he angles for a new deal. And taking a hard line isn’t going to likely help his cause.

So, all that’s bad enough. Then there’s the whole hanging out with Terrell Owens thing, which Ledbetter reports has the Falcons kind of freaking out on the down low.

“The fact that he’s running around with Terrell Owens has the front office uneasy,” Ledbetter said. “The fact that he’s held out and is kind of bucking the whole Brotherhood thing has them a little bit uneasy, too. So, they’ll have to mend some fences, no question about it, once he returns.”

Owens, soon to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was always difficult to handle, even during the best of times. That he’s the one who has Jones’ ear right now cannot be a comforting thought for owner Arthur Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff.

It’s going to be fascinating to see how this whole situation unfolds. We’ll definitely have our popcorn ready.