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Matt Jones Working Out With Earnest Byner This Week

Posted Mar 28, 2017

Running back Matt Jones is spending the week training with former Redskins Super Bowl winner Earnest Byner, who's giving him some mental tips along the way.

Redskins running back Matt Jones is receiving advice this week from someone that’s been in his position before.

The team’s third-round draft pick in 2015 posted a photo to Instagram on Monday with former Redskins running back Earnest Byner, part of Washington’s last Super Bowl victory, who knows a thing or two about Jones’ fumbling struggles over the last two years.

Prior to coming to Washington, Byner’s defining moment came with the Browns in the 1988 AFC Championship game. Byner had a chance to score a touchdown and tie the game against the Broncos, but as he raced for the goal line, he was stripped of the ball at the 2-yard line, allowing Denver to recover and end Cleveland’s dreams of heading to the Super Bowl.

“Having to go through the consistent lashing that I took, regarding that, it just made me want to help people that have made, not even as drastic a mistake as that was,” Byner told The Redskins Blog in 2015.

He’s continued to stand by that desire, working with athletes of all kinds to fight through the mental game.

That includes Jones, who was named the lead running back prior to the 2016 season after taking the reigns from Alfred Morris the year before. The Florida product struggled with fumbling in his rookie year but made it an area of focus in the offseason, using a beeping football as one of the tools to help him.

Still, he struggled with security midway through the season, and rookie running back Robert Kelley eventually took over as the starter. As Jones works this offseason to prove he can still be a reliable option out of the backfield for the Redskins, he’ll use Byner’s words of encouragement, knowing his mentor has been down a similar road.

Byner even published a book a couple of years ago called “Everybody Fumbles,” another way to connect with athletes who go through challenging times in their careers.

“In life, we all make these mistakes,” Byner said. “We all have to deal with learning from the mistakes. We all have to do that. So that initially motivated me into writing. By nature, I’m a teacher. This is another way of teaching but also giving people answers for dealing with different aspects of life.”

It should be a fruitful week for Jones.

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