JACKSONVILLE – This was where Abry Jones wanted to play.
The versatile, reliable defensive tackle will get his wish after signing his tender offer from the Jaguars Tuesday morning.
Jones, who has played a key role for the Jaguars as a reserve interior defensive lineman over the last three seasons, signed a one-year extension to remain with the team Tuesday. The Jaguars had extended the offer late last week.
The signing prevents Jones from becoming a restricted free-agent Wednesday at 4 p.m.
"It was a weight off my shoulders, really," Jones said. "I was just happy to finally see it get done."
Jones, who signed with the Jaguars as a rookie free agent shortly after the 2013 NFL Draft, played collegiately at the University of Georgia and attended Warner Robins (Ga.) Northside high school about three-and-a-half hours from Jacksonville.
"I couldn't find a better place than Jacksonville," he said. "It's close to home and my family comes to every home game."
Jones, after playing eight games as a rookie, played 31 games over the last two seasons. He has played several positions along the defensive line, and has played a key role as a backup to nose tackle Roy Miller. His 373 snaps were second to Miller among Jaguars interior defensive linemen last season.
Jones credited Todd Wash, the Jaguars' defensive line coach the past three seasons who is now the defensive line coach/defensive coordinator, with his development.
"Everyone has the dream of getting drafted," Jones said. "I didn't, but when Jacksonville called me I had talked to Coach Wash at the combine and knew I wanted to play for him. When I got here, he treated me like any other drafted guy and he worked me hard to help me get to this spot."
Jones said he had a good feeling about remaining with the team, and that he got a better feeling in recent days after the team and his agent spoke at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine late last month in Indianapolis.
"You really don't know whether they're going to move on or keep you," Jones said. "The Jaguars took me under their wing and showed me the hard work necessary to get to this point. I'm just happy they want to keep me here. They showed me how much they appreciate what I do for them. I'm just happy this day has come.
"It goes back to the old saying, 'Hard work always pays off.' That's one of the things Coach Wash teaches us as a d-line. I' glad I showed it to him and I showed it to [Jaguars General Manager] Dave [Caldwell]."