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Julio Jones targeting Week 1 for Atlanta Falcons return

Wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie acknowledged last week that the Atlanta Falcons are on "pins and needles," nervous about Julio Jones' return from foot surgery.

Although Jones has been ahead of schedule in his recovery, he only recently graduated to running and cutting.

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He will not participate in mandatory minicamp next week. In fact, Jones told USA Today's Lindsay Jones on Monday that his goal is to be back on the field by Week 1.

"It is a serious injury, and knowing that I broke the same bone in a different spot over the course of two years," Jones said. "So it's a very serious matter, and we're not trying to play with it.

"We're taking all the precautions before throwing me back out there and just saying, 'He's ready to go,'" the wide receiver continued. "I feel great, I feel good, but at the same time, we have to take it slow because the season is still far away."

The Falcons seem to be in no hurry to work out a new contract while Jones is sidelined, but the wide receiver is confident he will receive a big pay day before his rookie contract expires next offseason.

"I will not get to free agency," Jones said in an interview with SI Now, via The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "They gave up a lot for me and they know how hard I work. They're not going to let me go. And I love Atlanta, I love being here."

Jones holds the key to the Falcons offense. As long as he meets his goal of returning to game shape by the season opener, this team should at least double last year's total of four wins.

The latest "Around The League Podcast" picks the best receiver group in the NFL, and goes deep previewing the season with Bucky Brooks.

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