CINCINNATI -- Reporters practically had to re-introduce themselves to Marvin Jones late Friday night as he held postgame court in front of his locker for the first time in 19 months.
OK, maybe that's a slight exaggeration. There was no need for introductions and re-introductions. After all, the Cincinnati Bengals receiver has been around the team and Paul Brown Stadium throughout the 591 days since he last suited up for a game.
Sure, Friday's preseason opener might not hold the same weight as a playoff game, but it was nonetheless an opportunity for Jones to go through live situations and get tackled by players on an opposing team for the first time in a very long time.
"It felt good to get out there and get extended playing time and get back into things," Jones said.
In Friday's 23-10 victory over the Giants, he was in on 25 plays and caught one pass for 17 yards. He was thrown to one other time on a "go" route into the end zone. That pass from backup quarterback Josh Johnson was incomplete after it was left a little short for Jones and ricocheted off the back of Giants cornerback Chandler Fenner.
Coach Marvin Lewis said he had hoped to get Jones more involved than he ultimately was.
"It was great for Marvin Jones to play through the second quarter like he did and feel good about it," Lewis said. "He did a nice job catching the ball [on the lone reception], avoiding the first tackle and turning up the field and running. It had to feel good for him."
While this is the start of season No. 4 for Jones, it seems like he's at a much earlier stage in his career. That's because he missed all of last year, including the preseason, with foot and ankle injuries. Jones' young career had just started taking off the season before in 2013, when he made 51 catches for 712 yards and scored 10 touchdowns.
Jones and Pro Bowl receiver A.J. Green went into the franchise record books that season, becoming the only receiving tandem in team history to have double-digit touchdown receptions in a single season. Green had 11 that year.
With Jones back and tight end Tyler Eifert now healthy (he had two catches for 30 yards on two targets Friday), the Bengals' offense looks poised for a big 2015 season.
"We're out there looking at each other, looking at everybody who's making plays and there's just so many options," Jones said. "It's great to have. It's great to be part of an offense where everyone has different attributes they bring to the game. Nothing but good can come out of that, and we're all excited to be a part of this."