Lions’ Dan Campbell Sounds Off on Disgruntled Chiefs Star Ahead of Week 1

Chris Jones

Getty Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones in 2021.

Detroit Lions head coach Dan Campbell doesn’t know yet whether he will face Kansas City Chiefs star Chris Jones in Thursday’s Week 1 season opener, and said he isn’t going to spend much time worrying about him.

Jones remains estranged from the team amid a contract dispute, one that may not be resolved by the time the teams meet in the NFL’s season opener on September 7. Campbell spoke about Jones this week, saying in a September 1 appearance on 97.1 The Ticket that there is not much he can do about the situation.

“I’m not monitoring it,” Campbell said. “It doesn’t matter. He’s either there or he’s not. And if he is, he plays 15 plays, they’re all on third down and we’ll be ready. Otherwise, he’s not there and we just keep going. That’s out of our control.”

Dan Campbell Knows Chiefs Are Dangerous

Campbell said whether Jones shows up on Thursday or not, the Chiefs will field a dangerous defense.

“They’ve got plenty of ammo over there defensively,” Campbell said. “I know what kind of player he is when he’s in there, but he’s the last thing I’m worried about right now. Until he’s in the building, it’s not a concern.”

As Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio noted, there is still a chance that Jones and the Chiefs reach a deal on a new contract before Thursday, though the two sides are still apart in the contract negotiations.

“The Chiefs are at $24.67 million per year over the next three years,” Florio wrote. “The high-water mark (for now) for defensive players came from Aaron Donald, at $31.67 million. The midpoint, we’re told, gets an acceptance from Jones.”

Florio noted that Jones has threatened to remain out up until Week 8, which would allow him to get credit for the final year of his contract. The situation could put more pressure on the Chiefs to make a deal.

Jones is facing his own financial pressures as he remains away from the Chiefs. As the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reported on Twitter, the All-Pro defensive tackle has already lost a significant amount of money for his absences.

“The running tab: Chris Jones racked up roughly $2 million in fines during his training camp holdout,” Pelissero wrote. “He also gave up a $500,000 workout bonus. He would forfeit an additional $1,083,333 for each regular-season game missed.”

Lions Bring New Look on Offense

The Lions will bring a new-look offense to the season opener, with a revamped running game behind free-agent acquisition David Montgomery and rookie Jahmyr Gibbs.

Gibbs has been utilized in both the run and passing game through the preseason, and offensive coordinator Ben Johnson hinted that the team would be finding some different ways to utilize him during the season.

“We might use Gibbs in some ways that people don’t quite think we might,” Johnson said, via Tim Twentyman of the team’s official website on Twitter.

Gibbs could play a bigger role in the passing game to start the season, with the Lions missing receiver Jameson Williams as he serves a six-game suspension for violating the league’s rules against gambling.

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