A.J. Brown campaigned hard weeks on end for his Tennessee Titans to trade for Julio Jones. On Sunday, his wish was granted when the Titans pulled the trigger on a blockbuster trade with the Atlanta Falcons that brings the star wideout to Nashville.
"This morning, I looked at my phone, and my daughter was laying next to me ... and I kind of jumped out of bed and said, 'Is this really real?' I kind of woke my daughter up," a beaming Brown told reporters Sunday at a charity event. "I had to calm down for a little bit. When I got the news, it was kind of crazy. My phone started blowing up. I think this is really huge for Tennessee, not just for me, but this is huge for the city, our team. We are glad to have him."
The Titans traded 2022 second-round and 2023 fourth-round selections for Jones and a 2023 sixth-round pick.
Brown had been the leading cheerleader for the Titans to make the trade, creating a multitude of social media posts urging his club to bring in Jones. Brown, a rising young star in his own right entering his third season, even said he'd give up his No. 11 if Tennessee traded for his idol. Brown wore the number in honor of Jones.
"All the way up through college, he has been my favorite receiver, someone I've always looked up to," Brown said, via Jim Wyatt of the team's official website. "Just having someone like that in the locker room now, that I can just ask: 'What do I need to do here?' It is great. We talk all the time anyway, but having someone that close, and to see it on the field first-hand for yourself, it is great.
"To be honest, I have a picture in my locker of Julio, and I ask myself every day before I go out to practice: Don't let Julio outwork you, because that's how I measure myself up to the best receiver in the game. So to have him on the same (team) as me, it is going to raise my level of play, too, which is great."
Before the Jones trade, Brown was projected to have a massive target share in a Titans offense that saw Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith depart in free agency. Jones' arrival will siphon away some of the targets and a lot of defensive attention away from Brown.
It's a move that vaults the Titans from a question mark to return to the postseason to a favorite in what will surely be a hotly contested AFC playoff race. Questions remain on defense, but Tennessee's offense is now in a position to once again carry the load with Brown and Jones providing quarterback Ryan Tannehill with two big-play receivers who can take it to the house from anywhere on the field.
Having two alpha wideouts doesn't work in every locker room. However, Brown's feelings about Jones indicate that it's a match that will push each other to higher levels in 2021.