Punter Chris Jones nearly did it again. And then again...
Jones had two punts that nearly hit the center-hung HD board. His first punt in the second quarter went 55 yards and had great hang time, coming close to the board 90 feet above the field.
"It was a clean, struck ball, but it was a little to the right of the screen," Jones said. "I was kind of wondering [whether it was going to hit], but it kind of kept drifting right, drifting right and then it peaked. I’m like, ‘All right we’re good.’ To be honest, I didn’t really want to have to re-punt."
He later had another threatened the board.
Jones hit the digital board with a punt in last week's exhibition game against Cincinnati. It was only the second time it has ever happened. The other was in the first preseason game at the stadium in 2009 when Tennessee’s A.J. Trapasso hit the Mitsubishi Electric sign that previously hung below the board.
Jones said he hit the board several times in pre-game warmups, but he is not worried about hitting it in the regular season.
"I never think about it," he said. "It’s not something that it’s my mind like going out for each punt. I’m just worried about hitting a good ball and giving a coverable ball I guess you could say. The screen is what it is."
AT&T Stadium has had 284 regular-season punts without one hitting the HD board.
Jones has punted in AT&T Stadium only twice during the regular season in his career. He subbed for the injured Mat McBriar in a 2011 game, and he punted against the Bucs in the home opener last year before being injured.
"I guess that’s right," Jones said. "I love playing here, though. It’s perfect. You can’t ask for any better conditions or anything. Love the field. Love the stadium. The atmosphere. Everything’s good about it."
Jones had five punts downed inside the 20 on Thursday. He had 16 in 30 preseason punts.
-- Charean Williams