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Chiefs’ Chris Jones picks up $1.25 million bonus with sack against Chargers

By DAN GREENSPAN
Associated Press

INGLEWOOD, Calif. (AP) — Chris Jones got what he needed, picking up a sack in the third quarter of the Kansas City Chiefs’ 13-12 win over the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday to collect a $1.25 million bonus written into his contract.

Jones came into the game with 9 1/2 sacks and needed a half-sack to earn the bonus.

An exuberant Jones ran to the sideline and was swarmed by his teammates after dropping Easton Stick for an 11-yard loss to finish with 10 1/2 sacks. Jones had clearly been going after his money, generating 12 pressures on 31 pass rush snaps, according to NFL Next Gen Stats.

“Man, the whole team knew the only reason I was playing was for a sack, OK. And 46 plays later,” Jones said.

It was Jones’ third time reaching double-digit sacks in eight seasons with the Chiefs (11-6).

Coach Andy Reid agreed early in the week to give Jones the chance to chase the incentive.

“I think he had eight hurries getting there, so he really played a good game but it took him a while to get the actual sack,” Reid said.

Jones admitted he had tested Reid’s patience with the workload needed to finally take down Stick, having nearly been taken out before he got the sack.

“I was only supposed to play for one quarter,” Jones said. “One quarter turned to two quarters. Two quarters turned to ‘Please, coach, let me get one more drive,’ you know what I mean? So thankful to coach Reid.”

The 29-year-old anchor of the Chiefs defensive front came into the game with plans for the money, intending to reward his fellow defensive linemen, position coaches and coordinator Steve Spagnuolo with luxury watches as gifts. After giving his own interview a soundtrack by playing the Empire of the Sun song “Walking on a Dream,” Jones enthusiastically discussed what would soon be reality.

“Yeah, the D block know that this was all for them,” Jones said. “The only reason I played for them ’cause I want them to get a Rolex, and I get to buy myself a Rolex without spending my own money.”

Spagnuolo was as invested as Jones’ teammates in the pursuit, giving Jones play calls intended to get him to the quarterback.

“I haven’t had this many one-on-ones all year collectively, and we laughed about that, but I love Spags, man,” Jones said, recalling his sideline conversation with his coordinator after the decisive play.

Whether Jones would get the half-sack needed to claim the bonus was one of the few storylines worth watching in a mostly unimportant game. The Chiefs had already locked up the AFC West and the No. 3 seed in the conference, allowing them to rest quarterback Patrick Mahomes and other key players.

Travis Kelce was inactive, ending the star tight end’s chance to reach the 1,000-yard mark for the eighth straight season. And with Kelce not playing, there was no reason for his girlfriend, pop superstar Taylor Swift, to make the trip to SoFi Stadum before attending the Golden Globes in Beverly Hills on Sunday night.

It was Kelce’s decision not to play, according to Reid, who would have gladly made sure Kelce got the 16 yards he needed.

“He didn’t want to be selfish or come across as selfish,” Reid said. “All the players wanted him to play. But he goes, ‘You know what? I don’t like the way it feels.’ He’s not into that. So he chose not to play. I completely understand it, but that’s him. Most guys probably would have gone out and done it, but he said, ‘I’ve got a lot of records. This one here, I’m not gonna do it this way.’”

That left everyone watching Jones and his pursuit of a seven-figure bonus.

“It’s just one of those things that we knew going into the game he needed point-five,” receiver Mecole Hardman said. “So finally he get it, and it was like, ‘Yes!’”

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

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