Pacman game over could be for good
Posted: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 3:11 pm
By: By STEPHEN HAWKINS, AP Sports Writer
FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — Not even the extra effort of the Dallas Cowboys could keep Adam “Pacman” Jones from getting into trouble again.
Without some significant off-field changes this time, the troubled cornerback may not get another chance to play in the NFL. Jones was suspended for at least four games Tuesday for again violating the league personal conduct policy.
“He knows that when he was reinstated over the summer, I didn’t feel that he had room for any further errors,” NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said. “What happened last week was significant enough for me to take action. There are no free passes. It’s up to him at this point.”
Goodell will determine the full length of the suspension after the Cowboys play Nov. 16 at Washington. The commissioner said a lifetime ban remained a possibility.
Only six weeks after being reinstated from a 17-month suspension and missing the entire 2007 season for the Tennessee Titans because of repeated legal troubles, Jones was involved in an alcohol-related scuffle Oct. 7 with one of his bodyguards at a private party in Dallas.
The league said reinstatement will depend on strict compliance with treatment plans by the NFL and the Cowboys and an evaluation by “clinical experts.”
Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Adam Jones would be subjected to alcohol counseling, but the owner wouldn’t go into specifics about that or other treatment plans.
“The question really is, can he address his issues he needs to address. He does need treatment,” said Jerry Jones, adding any treatment would be voluntary. “I do agree with the commissioner in that he needs to address some things and show that he’s aware of that.”
The Cowboys owner said Adam Jones has been tested three times a week for two years in the NFL’s substance abuse program without a positive test. He said that program does not include alcohol.
In a letter to Adam Jones on Tuesday, Goodell cited a “disturbing pattern of behavior and clearly inconsistent with the conditions I set for your continued participation in the NFL.”
After being traded to Dallas in April, Jones stayed out of trouble until the scuffle at an upscale Dallas hotel. The bodyguard was part of a security detail provided by the Cowboys to be with the player at all times.
“The Cowboys have gone to extraordinary lengths to provide him with support. Provided resources to help him make better decisions,” Goodell said from the NFL meeting in St. Petersburg, Fla. “The fact that he got into a fight with somebody designed to protect him makes a pretty significant issue.”
Jerry Jones said last week there was a listing of “several pages” with places Adam Jones was told to avoid and that the player had “agreed to do everything I’ve ever asked him to do.”
The Cowboys owner spoke several times Tuesday with Adam Jones, whom he described as “just very dejected. Very disappointed. Very down.”
Jerry Jones said he would consider having the cornerback rejoin the Cowboys “if he earns his way back.”
Goodell said the NFL, if asked, would help set up evaluations for Adam Jones.
“He’s not getting the message or he has some other issues going on that we would like to understand,” Goodell said. “Until he gets those issues addressed and we understand them better, I felt this was appropriate to do.”
The player’s agent, Worrick Robinson, didn’t return messages left with his assistant and on his cell phone.
Jerry Jones called the Oct. 7 incident an “aberration” and said the Cowboys didn’t plan any discipline because no team rules were violated. But he knew the NFL might have a different view.
“I respect the commissioner’s decision,” Jones said. “It was not traditional-type of behavior that would normally warrant club discipline. It was the kind of thing that addressed an overall, habitual decision making. He stepped out of bounds.”
Jerry Jones said last week banter between the player and his bodyguard got out of hand, resulting in the scuffle and a small glass item on the vanity in the restroom being damaged. Dallas police responded to a disturbance call about 11 p.m., and the matter was over by time they arrived.
The player and the bodyguard, Tommy Jones, told police everything was OK. Police said both were driven from the hotel by an acquaintance, and the bodyguard didn’t want to press charges.
The owner acknowledged that alcohol was served at the party, but that witnesses told him the player’s “conduct should not be interpreted as over drinking.”
Before getting traded to Dallas, Adam Jones was arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention after Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005.
Jones has started all six games for the Cowboys, partly because Pro Bowl cornerback Terence Newman has been injured. Jones has 25 tackles and 11 pass deflections, and has averaged 5.0 yards on 16 punt returns.
Tennessee got a fourth-round pick from the Cowboys in the April draft and was supposed to get a sixth-rounder next year for Jones. But because Jones has been suspended again, Dallas will instead get the Titans’ fifth-round pick next April.
Jones was an elite cornerback and kick returner in his first two seasons with the Titans, but the accumulation of arrests and legal problems, including his connection to a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club, led to his suspension without pay in April 2007.
AP freelance writer Mark Didtler in St. Petersburg, Fla., contributed to this report.