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Falcons star receiver Julio Jones not looking for ‘revenge’ against Richard Sherman

Jan 12, 2017, 1:41 PM | Updated: 2:02 pm

After a controversial non-call at the end of the last matchup with the Seahawks, Falcons star receiver Julio Jones was ready to move on. Even if he felt that he was interfered with by cornerback Richard Sherman.

“Before I took off he grabbed my right side and spun me around before I jumped up,” Jones said following Atlanta’s 26-24 loss on Oct. 16. “It was just a missed call. It’s over with. It’s done, we are on the next right now.”

Related: Everything you need to know about the Seahawks-Falcons matchup

As the two teams prepare to meet Saturday at the Georgia Dome, Jones has told the media that he’s not looking for revenge against Seattle’s All-Pro cornerback, but has given some mixed messages about how much communication he will have with the refs about penalties.

For example, Jones told ESPN’s Vaughn McClure that he won’t be shy to complain about missed calls during the game.

“When we’re in a game, I’ll go look at them like that and say, ‘You didn’t see it?’ if they didn’t see it,” Jones told ESPN.com. “I’m not going to sit up there and cry about anything. It is what it is. But you’ve got to alert them. Some refs just let you play, too. It’s like, ‘All right, you’re going to let us play? Then we’re going to go out here and play. If you’re going to call it, call it. Just let me know how you’re going to officiate this game.'”

Meanwhile, he told the Atlanta Journal Constitution that he’s preparing for the matchup “like any other week” and said he doesn’t “have any grudges” against Sherman. He also doesn’t plan to talk any differently to officials.

“It’s not a big game for us. It’s like any other game,” Jones told the AJC. “We’re just doing what we do. No pressure for us. … We just landed them in the playoffs. It’s another game for me. It’s not I want revenge or anything like that. They’re in the way.

“… I’m not talking to refs at all or anything like that. I’m here to play football. I ain’t here to talk to refs about this and that. That’s their job. They call what they call. If they see it, they call it. If they don’t, they don’t.”

As for the play in question from October’s Seattle-Atlanta game, with 1:39 left in regulation, quarterback Matt Ryan threw a deep fourth-down pass to Jones that fell incomplete, and it appeared as though Sherman may have pinned Jones’ right arm on the pass. Fans were not happy about the no-call (especially this one). Had pass interference been called, the Falcons likely would have been within range for a potential game-winning field goal. Falcons coach Dan Quinn had a discussion with NFL vice president of officiating Dean Blandino afterward.

To be fair, every wide receiver in the NFL – every player – is looking and expecting a penalty on any given play. As 710 ESPN Seattle’s Danny O’Neil wrote, defensive pass interference is like offensive holding and could be called on pretty much every play. Still, this was the first of two late-game penalties that didn’t get called against Jones in back-to-back weeks. Then again, the officials also appeared to miss a hands-to-the-face call at the beginning of the play against Sherman, as Jones slapped Sherman’s head at the line of scrimmage.

Sherman, for his part, has had plenty to say about this subject. After the Falcons game, he told reporters that it looked like there was “interference on our offense on a few plays and they didn’t get it, so it was just one of those games where they let us play.” Later in the week, he suggested that the NFL intentionally edited a video package of the play so as not to show Jones slapping Sherman’s facemask and how he sees the issue as a microcosm of how everything in the NFL trends toward offense while defenders get the short end of the deal.

“Well, it’s difficult to recover when you almost fall at the beginning of the play [when] you get pushed in the face,” he said. “If I pushed a receiver in the face, I guarantee you it will be the highlight of every SportsCenter, every everything, if that was the fourth quarter [and] the last play and I pushed him in the face. But, it is what it is.”

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Jones, arguably the best receiver in the NFL, hauled in 83 receptions for 1,409 yards in 14 games. He caught seven passes for 139 yards and a touchdown in Week 6 against Seattle. According to ESPN Seahawks reporter Sheil Kapadia, Sherman lined up against Jones for 30 of 46 coverage snaps, catching 3 of 5 targets for 40 yards.

According to ESPN, Saturday’s officiating crew will be a mishmash crew headed by Gene Steratore. His regular-season crew called a league-low 22 combined penalties for defensive holding (seven), defensive pass interference (12) and illegal contact (three), according to ESPN.

And if you are to believe what Jones told McClure, he won’t be talking to refs before kickoff, but you may see some complaining in-game.

“If you grab me early, I’m going to let the ref know,” Jones said. “And if they’re not calling it, it’s going to be a physical game.”

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