ALBANY — Former Albany Empire wide receiver Malachi Jones weighs a potential comeback to the Capital Region after being released by the National Football League’s Chicago Bears.
Jones won Rookie of the Year, Wide Receiver of the Year and was named First Team All-Arena in his 2018 debut season in the Arena Football League with the Empire.
After spending the entire NFL preseason on the Bears’ 90-man roster, Jones returns to the Capital District to consider his playing options moving forward.
In limited action with the Bears, he primarily played on special teams. Jones had a small sample of snaps on offense, getting targeted once in his final preseason game.
“There is always the possibility to come back next season,” said Jones. “Now I just have to see what happens and what opportunities come around in the next few months. My time in Chicago was great and I am thankful to have the opportunity to keep pursuing my NFL dream.”
The Capital Region will embrace Jones should he decide to return to the Empire. A fan favorite, Jones led the league in receiving yards (1,156) and total touchdowns (34). He finished second in receiving touchdowns (29) and fourth in receptions (77).
“Malachi took the league by storm last year and we would, of course, love to see him in an Empire uniform again next season,” said Rob Keefe, head coach of the Albany Empire. “The whole organization is beyond proud of what he’s accomplished at this point in his career and we fully support whatever decision he makes as he continues to work toward his goal of being in the NFL.”
Currently, no players are eligible to be assigned to any team in the AFL. The “no contact period” for the league will remain in effect until all offseason dates and events have been finalized by the Board of Directors.