NEW ORLEANS – Baltimore wideout Jacoby Jones almost didn't get a chance to enjoy his mother's gumbo this week.
Jones, a New Orleans native, visited Charlotte last spring on a free agent tour and was set to sign with the Panthers. But after his agent encouraged him to take his final visit to Baltimore, Jones signed with the Ravens and ended up in his hometown for his first Super Bowl.
Jones said he met with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton and former offensive coordinator Rob Chudzinski during his visit, and came away impressed.
“It was great,” Jones said Wednesday. “I was like, 'Man, I'm leaning this way.'”
Jones said the Panthers' offer was similar to the two-year, $7 million deal he received from the Ravens, whose team unity was the deciding factor.
“When I walked in the locker room, I was done. I was like, 'I'm signing,'” Jones said. “How these guys act to each other, it was like a family.”
Jones' 30 receptions were third most among the Ravens' wideouts, trailing Anquan Boldin and Torrey Smith. He averaged 30.7 yards a kick return – tops among players with at least 17 returns
Jones said he would have been the Panthers' No. 3 wideout, but wasn't sure he would get to return both kicks and punts.
“They were kind of decided of Brandon LaFell” as the second wideout, Jones said. “He played pretty well. They had a returner (Kealoha Pilares). And they had a guy (Joe Adams) they drafted. I was looking at that, too.”
With a Super Bowl trip that included his mother making 150 plates of Cajun food for the Ravens, Jones said he made the right choice.
“The fun part is playing in the Super Bowl, period. A lot of great players and Hall of Famers haven’t made it to the Super Bowl,” Jones said. “But just playing in New Orleans, that puts the icing on the cake.”