Making the most out of a bad situation.
That’s all Adam Jones—formerly known as Pacman Jones—can do following all of his self-inflicted legal troubles that happened shortly after the Tennessee Titans made him the highest-drafted defensive player in the 2005 NFL Draft. Jones spent two seasons with the Titans before he was suspended for the entire 2007-08 NFL season. The following offseason, the Titans traded him to the Dallas Cowboys.
His troubles followed him away from Nashville. Known for taking on projects with behavioral issues, the Cowboys gave up on Jones after one season. In Jan. 2009, the Cowboys released Jones after allegations arose over an alcohol-related scuffle with a security guard. Jones remained unemployed throughout the entire 2009-10 season.
That appeared like the end of his professional football career, if not his freedom. However, in 2010, there was one team who was known for taking chances on high-risk characters whose athletic talents were in very limited supply: the Cincinnati Bengals. Jones earned a spot as a depth cornerback on the 2010-11 roster.
Three-and-a-half years have passed. Jones prepares for his fourth season with a team who’s coming off back-to-back playoff losses. Although Jones has matured, controversies continue to follow him. That image above? Jones was flagged for an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty. In June 2013, Jones and another woman were videotaped in this scuffle. Jones claimed to have acted in self-defense against a woman who attacked him with a beer bottle. Critics questioned why he was at a bar in the first place.
Here’s a look at Jones’ career NFL statistics. Check out how he has done since joining the Bengals:
Last season was the first time that Jones participated in all 16 regular-season games. Since 2006, it was the first time that he had played in more than nine games. Legal problems and a 2010 neck injury have all but tarnished the resume of a player who could’ve been classified among the elite cornerbacks and return specialists. Jones has just one interception since he left the Titans.
On Aug. 17, the Bengals will host the Titans in a preseason game. Jones didn’t play when these teams last met on Nov. 6, 2011. The Bengals won 24-17. It was the determining factor for the second-and-final AFC wild-card berth.
September 30 will mark Jones’ 30th birthday. Head coach Mike Munchak credits Jones for his turnaround. According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean (from ProFootballTalk), here’s how Jones felt about the Titans in 2011:
Yeah, I did [mess] things up off the field. I blame myself for that. But I will say when times got hard [the Titans] weren’t there for me. But I ain’t holding no grudges, man. Life is too short for grudges. I don’t have time for all of that.
Jones isn’t the only ex-Titan who’s trying to resurrect his career. Vince Young will attempt to win the No. 2 quarterback job with the Green Bay Packers. With Graham Harrell and B.J. Coleman struggling throughout training camp, Young has a fair chance to make that team if he strings together some strong performances.
All of these second chances—third chances—whatever you call them—prove that these are extraordinary athletes whose talents are in limited supply when compared to the average NFL player. Too bad they couldn’t get their personal lives straightened out and become permanent members of this franchise. Young and Jones could’ve been entering the prime of their careers. Who knows how far they could’ve peaked had they remained with the same organization.
At least Kenny Britt can learn from their errors. Don’t let the personal life get out of control. Apparently, Britt has done a much better job of that. Now the question is whether he can do it for the long term.