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Donnie Jones excited to have security with Eagles
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He wasn’t sure it would happen. The last two offseasons were much different for punter Donnie Jones. Instead of security, there was uncertainty.

After playing in St. Louis for five seasons, Donnie Jones left and signed a one-year deal in Houston in 2012. He had a good season with the Texans, but when the free-agent carousel spun again, Jones ended up in Philadelphia and signed another one-year deal last season with the Eagles.

This time around was different. No one-year deal. No switching teams. No competition or ambiguity. The Eagles brought Jones back on a three-year deal worth $5.5 million (see story).

“To have some security, for me, for the last couple of years, has been hard because I’ve been on one-year contracts trying to prove myself,” Jones said on Wednesday at the NovaCare Complex.

Jones, who just completed his 10th NFL season, averaged 40.4 yards per punt last year. That’s the best mark in franchise history. Jones had 33 punts inside the 20-yard line with only eight touchbacks, which was also an Eagles record. And he led the NFL with 27 punts downfield without a return.

“For me, the last, really, two offseasons – I signed the one-year contract in Houston when I left St. Louis,” Jones said. “And then, obviously coming here after having a really good year in Houston, and signing another one-year contract. And then having to beat out Brad Wing in training camp. He’s a great talent, and I think he’ll have a great future in this league. But to be standing here today knowing that I’m going to be here and I’m going to be the punter this year really feels good. I can go home and really enjoy being with my family for the rest of the offseason knowing that, come this fall, I’m going to be the punter here. It’s really exciting.”

Jones said he had to fight the stigma of being a “dome punter” the last few years after playing five seasons in St. Louis and another in Houston.

“I think that plays in your head, especially when you hear people saying over and over again that ‘he’s played indoors for six years. He’s a dome punter. It will be interesting to see how he handles Philadelphia and the weather,’” Jones said. “I think I proved something to them, but I think I also proved something to myself. I felt really good about the way I performed.”

Jones, who will turn 34 in July, said he hopes to play several more seasons in the NFL and finish his career with the Eagles. When he mentioned his longevity, one reporter asked what he does during the offseason.

“Last year,” Jones said, “I did a lot of yard work.”

He got a good laugh out of that.

“No, I’m serious,” Jones said.

More laughs.

“I re-did my flower beds in my backyard,” Jones continued. “It took me about three weeks to do. I had to carry these bags of rocks from Lowe’s. I must have had, like, I dunno, 150 bags of rocks. And mulch. I had 300 bags of mulch. We have a lot of beds at our house.”