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Julio Jones' offseason work with Terrell Owens is helping him now

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Woodson, Bruschi like Falcons to best Giants on MNF (0:42)

Darren Woodson and Tedy Bruschi are taking the Falcons to get their 2nd straight win in an offensive showdown at Mercedez-Benz Stadium. (0:42)

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Julio Jones laughed as he glanced at the video of himself running cones barefoot in the sand while simultaneously catching tennis balls.

During the clip, one can hear a booming voice in the background screaming at the Atlanta Falcons wide receiver as he completes each rep.

"Get it. Come on. Goddamn, Julio. There you go."

That voice belongs to Pro Football Hall of Fame wide receiver Terrell Owens, Jones' workout partner this past offseason.

Jones, 29, couldn't recall how he met the 44-year-old Owens. He just knew an opportunity arose to work alongside one of football's greats, and it was a chance he couldn't pass up.

"T.O.'s work ethic, everything about him, what he stands for ... he was a pro for so long," Jones said. "He played into his mid-30s. And just his regimen, it's always good to learn and keep bettering yourself."

So Jones and Owens worked, and worked and worked. Their workout sessions started around 8 a.m. and typically consumed most of the day. They connected everywhere from the University of Alabama, where Jones starred in college, to Georgia's Johns Creek High School, where Jones' good friend and former Falcons teammate, Roddy White, is an assistant coach.

Jones and Owens had their share of workouts in the Los Angeles area, including at UCLA and USC. The most grueling sessions, however, might have been the ones featured in the video, held at the popular 100-foot high sand dune in Manhattan Beach, California. It's the same mound that is often rented out for hourlong slots by players from the Los Angeles Rams, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers, just to name a few.

"What were those [drills] about? It was just about keeping going," Jones said. "When you're tired, you've got to focus. Everybody can go through the motions. But you've got to focus, too, when you're tired.

"That's what I learned from T.O., just hard work. I've always had it, but it's always refreshing to go out and see somebody else that works hard, just like you work."

As Jones prepares to share the field with the New York Giants and another top-tier receiver Monday (8:15 p.m. ET, ESPN) in Odell Beckham Jr., he would be the first to say working with Owens added a little more fuel to his competitive fire. Although Jones has yet to post a touchdown this season and last scored in January during a playoff win against the Rams, he remains one of the game's most feared offensive threats. Entering Week 7, Jones ranked second in the league with 708 receiving yards (44 receptions on 69 targets) despite drawing added defensive attention every week.

Unlike Owens or Beckham, Jones isn't viewed as a diva receiver who craves attention or demands the ball.

"Well, he's about winning, No. 1," quarterback Matt Ryan said of Jones. "That's been the case from the moment he stepped into this building. ... He's just wired that way as a person. But he also wants it, too. He wants the ball, too, and that's what you want from those guys. Even with double coverage, he feels like he can make plays and wants and is aggressive in that respect."

Jones shook his head about the offseason chatter of the outspoken Owens being a negative influence on him, an assumption tied to Jones having a contract issue before re-joining the team for training camp. The Falcons eventually adjusted Jones' 2018 salary to give him a $2.9 million boost and promised to renegotiate his deal next year, with two years and more than $21 million remaining.

"We didn't talk about business at all when we were together," Jones said of his discussions with Owens. "We were just man to man, player to player, trying to get better. We were just working. We never talked about anything with contract or whatever we had going on. Not one time. He didn't feel like it was the place to tell me, and I didn't feel like I needed to talk to him about it. We were just grinding."

Teammates noticed the hard work Jones put in despite him being away during the Falcons' voluntary workouts and mandatory minicamp. Ryan saw the results of Jones' grind up close when he brought a group of Falcons out to California in July to throw with Jones.

"He was in great shape," Ryan recalled. "That's probably the first thing that jumps out. He was in really good condition; was able to run, go, all through the workouts at top speeds. I've probably been around him so much that I'm used to seeing how great he is at everything he does."

Specifically, Ryan said it seems like Jones has gotten even better with his releases to help create separation. Not to dispute his quarterback's observation, but Jones said that hasn't necessarily been the case, although he did typically run routes with Owens following their workouts.

"I have no weaknesses," Jones said. "I have no weaknesses at all. For me, a lot of people don't even challenge me at the line. If a guy were to come up and challenge me, I'm down for it. I always try to work on everything. I always try to stay fine-tuned."

There was another element to Jones' workouts with Owens. Sometimes, they would do some track work to make sure they kept up to speed. Jones even timed Owens running a 4.43 in the 40 at one point, which sparked talk of Owens perhaps making his own comeback in the NFL or via the CFL, although the latter never came to fruition.

Jones still has a ways to go to catch up to Owens. Owens made the Hall of Fame because he accumulated 15,934 receiving yards and 153 touchdowns on 1,078 receptions in 15 seasons. Through eight seasons, Jones has 9,762 receiving yards and 43 touchdowns on 629 career receptions.

"Everybody wants to be a Hall of Famer," Jones said. "That's why you play the game. If it comes, it comes. It would be a great achievement to have, especially as a football player and doing this your whole life. You just have to keep working at it."

Maybe Jones' next accomplishment entails becoming the league's highest-paid wide receiver. Beckham currently holds that distinction with an average salary of $18 million per year, while Jones sits 11th among receivers at $14.25 million per year.

Does Jones think about it?

"As far as being the highest paid? I don't," he said. "I don't at all. You've got to know your worth, I will say that. That's what I go off of. Who I am as a person, as a player, and everything I bring, you've got to know your worth."

Jones' teammates would tell you he's invaluable.