Kelvin Benjamin won’t be the only Buffalo Bills wide receiver having offseason surgery.
Zay Jones is expected to have surgery this week to repair a torn labrum in his shoulder, an NFL source with direct knowledge of the injury confirmed Sunday to The Buffalo News.
Jones’ father, Robert, a former NFL linebacker, revealed the injury during a podcast with BillsWire.com,
Benjamin is having a torn meniscus in his right knee repaired.
"Here's a guy that's going into surgery on Tuesday to get his shoulder repaired and people hardly knew that he played the entire season with, you know, a torn labrum,” Jones said of his son on the podcast. “So how would you like sitting around and you're going to grab a glass of water and your arm falls out of its socket?"
The source said the Bills never treated Jones for a labrum injury during the season and the injury was revealed last week during a standard season-ending MRI examination.
“In this game, you have to play sometimes when you’re hurt,” Robert Jones tweeted Sunday. “Bills medical staff were excellent. They helped Zay through the process. Zay is committed to his team! Don’t make it bigger than what it is.”
Jones previously had shoulder surgery after the 2015 season at East Carolina. He has said he played the entire year with a “torn labrum and dislocated shoulder, and it did not stop me.” Jones had 98 catches for 1,099 and five touchdowns and started all 12 games that season.
Jones did not respond to a request for comment Sunday.
Jones did not appear on the Bills’ injury report for a shoulder injury this season. He was listed as a full participant in practice with a shoulder designation on Oct. 30-31 and Nov. 1, the days leading up to the Thursday night game against the New York Jets.
Jones caught six passes for 53 yards and had his first career touchdown against the Jets, despite missing part of the game with a leg injury that kept him out the following week against the New Orleans Saints.
On the season, Jones had 27 catches for 316 yards and two touchdowns as a rookie after the Bills traded up in the second round to select him. Jones was on the field for more snaps than any Bills wide receiver and was targeted 74 times, but nearly 40 percent of the passes thrown to him were deemed uncatchable by Pro Football Focus.
He received a lot of criticism from fans who were expecting more, especially as the Bills receivers struggled. Bills wide receivers caught 115 passes, the least in the league this season and the lowest total in the NFL in the last eight season.
“I'm a harsh critic for myself,” Jones told The Buffalo News late in the regular season. “I judge myself harder than anyone, so to have that reinforcement from the coaching staff, someone like Sean McDermott believing in me. The leaders in the locker room, older guys especially, that say, 'Hey, we still have faith in you.' That means a lot to me. It allows me to just go play and enjoy the game. That's what I'm trying to get back to — just enjoy it and have fun with it. Whether I get 10 targets or zero targets, whatever helps this team win, I'm all for it.”
Jones came to the Bills after having set the NCAA career record with 399 receptions, fueled by a record 2016 in which he had 158 catches for 1,746 yards.
Jones had just seven catches in the Bills’ first six games before he strung together 18 receptions and two touchdowns in his next five games despite the knee injury. His production then dipped at the end of the season.
“It's been challenging, for sure," he said. “In the beginning of the season, I didn't quite know what to expect. Obviously, things didn't go my way early. Then midseason, I began to come along. (Toward the end of the season), I haven't had the production, or whatever you want to call it.
“But I don't try to find excuses for things. That's one of the constants I have. Never be too high or too low, just be yourself when things are going right or going wrong.”
Jones is looking forward to the jump he hopes to make from being a rookie to his second year, regardless of what the offense has in store for him with a new coordinator following the firing of Rick Dennison.
“Everything will be more settled for me,” he said. “I was in the same position as these (college) guys (last year). Finishing up their college career, a lot going on, picking agents, Senior Bowl, combine. All that stuff to focus on. Now I can just focus on — OK, I know my responsibilities. I can go with Tyrod, I can go get with Nate Peterman. I know everybody in the building on a first-name basis. I can just be myself and work on my craft.”
News Sports Reporter Jay Skurski contributed to this report.