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Bears rookie WR Velus Jones on age concerns: 'Not going to stop me from running past people'

With an already thin wide receiver corps having lost Allen Robinson, the Chicago Bears needed to bolster the position group this offseason.

Thus, when they took just one wideout in the 2022 NFL Draft and it was a 25-year-old, the scrutiny quickly piled up.

For said 25-year-old Velus Jones, though, the doubters are not going to stop him -- nor will opposing defenders.

"People talk about it, but it don't matter," Jones told NFL Network's Adam Rank recently on The Sick Podcast when asked if he was surprised people seem to be so hung up about his age. "I'm a baller at the end of the day. I know what I can do. Me being 25 years [old] is not going to stop me from running past people to score touchdowns and stuff like that. I'm going to be fast for a long time, strong for a long time and making plays for a long time. So, it's really irrelevant."

Though Jones, taken in the third round at pick No. 71 overall, isn't the ideal 21- or 22-year-old rookie, he still boasts 4.3 40-yard dash speed and should also add a spark to the return game. He's coming off a statistically impressive senior season at Tennessee in which he hauled in 62 receptions for 807 yards and seven touchdowns. It was also his sixth college season, which explains why he'll be 25 as a rookie in the NFL.

Jones began his college days at USC and ended them with the Volunteers. The odyssey included a redshirt season and a COVID-19 extra year of eligibility.

"I never did give up on myself," Jones said. "And it took me six years, red-shirted and then I took a COVID year. But through that process, it wasn't for nothing. I got an undergrad at USC and I also got a Master's. So I took, fully advantage. And also perfected my craft, also. If I can go back and do it over, I would change nothing."

Jones will have to change the minds of those who believe the Bears should have done more to provide options for second-year quarterback Justin Fields.

With Darnell Mooney the only receiver close to an established producer in the NFL ranks, Jones is poised to compete for starting reps with the likes of Byron Pringle and Equanimeous St. Brown.

Jones is a true believer that the timing is right for him with the Bears and is poised to prove it.

"So, with my situation and how I was raised, I grew up in a church and everything, God-timing is perfect timing," Jones said. "I went through a lot of obstacles, you know I had to beat a lot of odds, to get where I'm at to this day. Everything happens for a reason, I always say that in every interview. So how I feel about it is, if I was at a young age, Year 3, and I went to the league. I wasn't as mature as I am now."

Maturity might well be one for the plus column, and so too could be mileage. Though Jones has more years on him than most rookies, he doesn't believe he has more wear and tear.

"And I can also say I never had any major injuries in college," Jones said. "Only thing I had was like a boxing fracture and a high ankle sprain. Never broke a bone, never had surgery in my life. So, honestly I have the body of like a 21 or 22 year old. Then some guys that have a lot of injuries in college and that you know are going to take punishment in the NFL, but I'm healthy as, like a baby horse. I'm healthy as all get outs. That really is irrelevant, you know people gonna talk about it. I only can control what I can control, so they can just stay tuned on that."

Stay tuned to see if the 25-year-old rookie proves the Bears right and the naysayers wrong.

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