Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

D.J. Jones says 49ers trading DeForest Buckner ‘hurt for like a week,’ opens opportunities

Apr 9, 2020 at 11:11 AM--

Any time a San Francisco 49ers defender is interviewed, especially a defensive lineman, it's inevitable that he gets asked about the team's biggest offseason move thus far — the surprising trade of Pro Bowl defensive tackle DeForest Buckner to the Indianapolis Colts. Fourth-year defensive tackle D.J. Jones joined KNBR on Thursday morning and was, of course, asked about his former teammate, and what it was like hearing the news that he was leaving.

"I can't even lie to you; it hurt for like a week," Jones said on the Murph and Mac show. "That was our captain in that D-line room. Arik Armstead was the big voice in that room, but Buck was the guy. Buck was our heart and soul. Buck was a run-stopper. Buck could get to the quarterback. Buck motivated me to be better than what I was.

"To see him go, I'm happy for him, but I'd love to be playing beside him next year. But I know he's going to do his thing (with Indianapolis)."

Jones realizes the NFL is a business and acknowledged that change is inevitable. Still, the move came as a bit of a shock.

"[The trade] came out of nowhere," Jones continued. "I know they made the best decision for the team. He got a pretty nice payday. I can't wait to see what he does in Indianapolis."

News of the trade was difficult for several players, but it does open up opportunities for those whose roles were reduced because of Buckner's dominating presence. That includes Jones, who will likely see his snaps increase in 2020. He is training this offseason as if that will be the case.

"When opportunity knocks, the next man up," Jones added. "I think we have a room full of guys that can step in. Myself, Arik can play 3-technique, I play the nose. You've got Ronald Blair, Kevin Givens, Jullian Taylor.

"But I feel like that role, it's up in the air. We all have the ability to go in there — I'm not going to say replace, but that's exactly what it is — replace Buck, and just keep moving forward."

You can listen to the entire conversation with Jones, which includes a review of Mississippi gas station buffets (yes, that's a thing, apparently), below.

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