Ravens DL Arthur Jones sidelined for opener with mysterious illness
Ravens head coach John Harbaugh refused to provide details of Jones’ illness, while speaking to reporters on Tuesday.
"I'd rather leave an explanation of Art's situation up to Art. It's not anything that's life-threatening, or anything like that. But it's not football related,” Harbuagh said. “We just have to get some tests done on it to make sure he's OK. And until the tests come out the right way, then he's not going to be able to play."
Jones has not practiced with the team, due to the illness, since the Ravens’ third preseason game. The Ravens still don’t have a timetable for Jones’ return from the illness.
“It’s something I’ve been told now that they can’t tell you how long it’s going to be. It could be a week, it could be indefinitely. We don’t think it’s going to be the second part,” Harbaugh said. “He’s going to see a specialist here on Wednesday and he can explain to you exactly what it’s about, to whatever extent he wants to.”
The fourth-year pro Jones did not offer any details regarding his condition in a Twitter message on Tuesday.
"As many of you know i'm having personal health issues," Jones tweeted. "Please respect my privacy. We as athletes go through real life problems also. Thank You all for your love and support. Ravens fans are the best!! See you all on the field soon!!! : ) #Onelove."
Entering training camp, Jones was projected as a starter up front, in second-year Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees’ 3-4 scheme. The former Syracuse standout Jones paved his way to a bigger role on the Ravens’ defensive line after starting six of the final 10 games last season. Jones amassed 47 tackles and 4.5 sacks while playing all 16 games for the Ravens in 2012. He also recorded a sack while starting the Super Bowl game against the San Francisco 49ers earlier this year.
However, Jones absence shouldn’t be too big of a blow for the Ravens’ defense considering the team bolstered their front seven with the addition of Marcus Spears on a two-year deal this summer. Spears can play both defensive end as well as tackle, and has a lot of experience under his belt with 89 starts during the past eight seasons in Dallas.
The 30-year-old Spears dealt with a hamstring injury in training camp, but he is now back to full strength.