Adam (Pacman) Jones has a criminal rap sheet that reads as long as a playbook. And yet there he was last night, picking off Peyton Manning in the Cincinnati Bengals’ victory over the Denver Broncos. Seeing him on the field brought to mind how far he apparently has grown since he had a run of trouble. Or maybe it’s just that he’s become skilled in the last year at not getting arrested.
Jones, from Atlanta, has been fingerprinted so many times that it is hard to find an official count. The Cincinnati Inquirer says it’s “at least eight.” Whatever the number is, it’s a lot, too many to believe he could remain an NFL player, especially with Roger Goodell reigning over the league as the “Discipline Commissioner.”
But his presence on the Bengals’ roster after so much drama speaks to two things: One, Jones has been authoring a redemption story for the ages, a man who seemed he would be run out of the league for his misdeeds not only remains, but is thriving. If nothing else, Jones has fortitude, which cannot be understated.
His place on the field also shows that teams will forgive you if you have talent to help them win. Yes, the desire to win is insatiable, and that is why Jones and players like Donte Stallworth, who killed a man driving while under the influence, and Leonard Little, whose drunk driving killed a woman and her two children, were allowed to wear an NFL uniform again.
Jones’ crimes have not been as heinous, but the aggregate total makes it startling that he is still around. Goodell, for all his toughness on player discipline, has allowed Jones back time and again. It also is a credit to him to have, perhaps, turn the corner on the boorish behavior, something many did not believe was in his makeup.
But it has been a year since Jones has had any troubles. So, Pacman Jones leagues the comebacks suspensions. Hopefully, this new Jones is the Jones moving forward, and that his highlight reel will be exclusively about playing football. Hopefully.