It's been a hell of a year for Kansas City Chiefs defensive lineman Chris Jones. From a contentious offseason holdout with him watching Week 1 atop an Arrowhead suite to the sideline jubilation of earning a $1 million contract incentive during the regular season finale, Jones has given the Chiefs and their fans plenty to remember this season.
However, as it all culminates with this Sunday's Super Bowl matchup against the San Francisco 49ers, the stalworth defensive lineman can't help but wonder if this will be his last time suiting up in a Chiefs' uniform.
"Unfortunately, I don't control the future," Jones told reporters on Thursday. "It's always been in my plans to be a Chief for life, but that's with the GM and the owner. They got to get together and see where do I fit for the future of this team."
Jones held out from offseason activities, hoping to sign a new contract to stay with the team long-term. After the holdout bled into Week 1 of the regular season, Jones and the organization agreed to a new, incentive-laden one-year contract, putting their differences aside for the team's sake. But with one more game left in the season, the time has come to, once again, deal with Jones' contract situation.
"If it is [my last game with the Chiefs], these eight years have been more than grateful," Jones acknowledged. "Whatever may come out, I put my trust in the higher power and the higher being. I always know whatever it is, it'll work out."
Jones has become one of the most iconic defensive players in franchise history since being drafted by the Chiefs in the second round of the 2016 NFL Draft. In his eight years with the team, he's played in 123 games, logged 256 tackles, and recorded 75.5 sacks. Despite missing a game this season, Jones still tied for the team lead with 10.5 sacks and led the defense with 13 tackles for losses.
While he lets the stats speak for his value to the team, Jones expressed his unwavering love for Chiefs Kingdom, ensuring his fans that they hold a special place in his heart regardless of where he ends up next season.
"Much love is given, much love is received," Jones said of his relationship with the Kansas City fanbase. "I give a lot of love to the Kansas City fans and the organization. I receive a lot of love, too. So, that doesn't intertwine with the business aspect of it."
"Because I go to a new team, that doesn't mean I never have or lose my love for KC. It's just a different type of love. I love them from afar."
Although the uncertainty of his future resides in the back of his mind, Jones knows he still has one more job to finish before dealing with that reality. With two Super Bowl championships already in the books, Jones' focus and drive remain razor-sharp as he looks to bring one more home, potentially for the final time as a member of the Chiefs.
"We're here for one reason, no matter where we're at, that's the goal," Jones said about this Sunday's Super Bowl. "We want to be here. We want to get this game going and bring another ring to Kansas City."