Be comfortable in uncomfortable situations.
This was new Raiders cornerback Jack Jones' answer when asked what he's learned in his football career under Antonio Pierce. Their relationship stems back to California when a 13-year-old Jones was preparing to play for Pierce at Long Beach Poly High School.
"In high school, he was about 120 [pounds], I think now he's 170," Pierce joked about what has changed since those high school days.
Jones credits Pierce for a decision that helped him gain notoriety as a recruit. The decision is quite humorous in hindsight, considering Jones' current occupation as an NFL defensive back.
"When I was in high school, AP [Antonio Pierce] asked me, 'What position you play?' And I told him I play DB," recalled Jones. "He was like, 'Man you're not no [expletive] DB!' He was like, 'You play receiver,' and at the time I didn't really believe in it. I was disappointed, but it turns out he was right. That's what I got all my offers from. ... That's how I ended up going to a Power-Five, D1 school.
"Just me being who I am, trying to prove myself. I had to prove to AP I could play DB."
The five-star receiver switched back to cornerback after committing to USC. After a redshirt sophomore year, he transferred to Arizona State, which just so happened to be where Pierce had moved on to, serving as co-defensive coordinator at the time. In Jones' three seasons at ASU, he totaled six interceptions and 19 pass deflections.
He was selected in the fourth round of the 2022 NFL Draft by the New England Patriots, bringing over a bit of his ballhawking energy to the league his rookie season. In 13 games played, he finished with two interceptions and six pass deflections. However, ater a few injuries and mishaps, the Patriots waived the second-year player.
The Raiders picked up Jones off the waiver wire Tuesday. Pierce feels a sense an obligation to get him back on the right track, considering their 12-year history.
"[T]he kid's been through a lot," said Pierce. "I've known him since he was very young. ... I've seen the growth of development. Nobody's perfect, I don't expect him to be perfect. That's my job as well, to bring him along and our staff and our organization to help him if he needs be. But the football player is extremely gifted, and I expect him to do such when he gets here."
With a big smile on his face, Jones made it known how grateful he is to be back under the direction of a coach he has so much history with. He also recognizes the amount of talent surrounding him among Marcus Peters, Marcus Epps and Tre’von Moehrig in the secondary.
But just like those high school days, Jones has a chip on shoulder, fueling him to provide a boost to what's been a solid Silver and Black defense this season.
"I still got some fire behind me," he said. "I kind of feel like I've got something to prove without going out of my way to prove it. I just want to show everybody I'm a good player and not somebody you can just shoo away."
The Raiders hit the practice field at Intermountain Health Performance Center before their Sunday matchup against the Miami Dolphins.