Marvin Jones thanked the Detroit Lions, their fan base and his teammates on Thursday for their support over the past eight-plus months after the death of his 6-month-old son, Marlo, last December.
Other than an Instagram post shortly after his son's death on Dec. 27, it was the first time Jones had spoken publicly about it.
Two days after Marlo's death, Jones, who was on injured reserve, made a pregame appearance at the Lions' season finale against Green Bay along with his wife, Jazmyn, and their family. The team held a moment of silence for Marlo before the national anthem.
Jones and his family stayed on the field for the anthem, and Jones was spotted wiping away tears and then hugging people on the sideline. He left the field just before the game.
"It was an experience that I very much appreciated from the standpoint from the Lions showing love and stuff like that and the fans and the teammates," Jones said. "It was just a powerful moment that I think was good for us and good for my family. That's pretty much all I'll say about that.
"My son is in a better place, so that makes me happy."
Jones said the people who reached out to him following Marlo's death, telling him their own stories of losing family members, helped give him strength. He realized that he and his family weren't alone in dealing with their grief.
"There's a lot of stories of people, stuff like that has happened to them, losing a family member," Jones said. "Obviously, that's the first time it happened to me on a level of that magnitude. Just hearing a lot of other people, hearing their voices and their experiences, stuff like that.
"I don't think you can ever really fully cope with it. I have my days. But at the same time, there's thousands and thousands of people who reached out to me about their experiences and stuff like that. Yeah, that's pretty much what it is."
Jones said his family will remain in San Diego this year -- a decision made before the pandemic -- but his school-aged children will be learning virtually, so they could decide to return to Michigan at some point.
He never considered opting out to remain with his family, saying he was home for about eight months.
Said Jones: "It's time to play football."