Bengals’ Jones sheds ‘bad boy’ image
CINCINNATI — When the Cincinnati Bengals signed cornerback Adam Jones in May
2010, the general public sighed and said ‘here we go again.’ The
organization made a habit of signing players deemed to have character
issues, so it wasn’t a surprise.
The player once known as “Pacman” had a laundry list of legal problems.
Fast forward to the present.
Jones has put his troubled past behind him and taken advantage of his
opportunity to turn his life around as well as impact others.
“I am so pleased with Adam’s maturation over the past two years,” agent Peter
Schaffer said via text on Thursday. “It’s been enjoyable to watch. He has
grown into a very nice young man, husband, father and teammate. The best
part of talking with him is when you finish up you feel energized. He has
that positive effect on people.”
The NFL has asked Jones to speak at the 2012 Rookie Symposium. The league is
hoping his message will encourage rookies not to make the same off-the-field
mistakes that have defined his pro career.
According to Schaffer, the player was quick to accept and looks forward to the
event and giving back.
Shedding the “bad boy” image will be no easy task, especially in the eyes of
those on the outside looking in. But those on the inside, his teammates, see
Jones in a different light.
“Adam is definitely one of the liveliest people I know,” defensive end Michael
Johnson said. “He said something to me that I have never forgotten – ‘do
what you love and love what you do.’ “That statement can be applied to any
aspect in life. If you do, you can’t help but be successful. He’s a great
Cincinnati re-signed Jones to a one-year deal this offseason and expects him
to contribute on defense and special teams. The corner got off to a slow
start in his return, missing most of Organized Team Activities due to a
pulled leg muscle, but he showed up to minicamp ready to compete.
Jones has looked good in practice running stride for stride with receivers in
coverage. He broke up a few passes and made a leaping, one-hand grab in
position drills. His technique appears to have improved and there’s a good
reason for it.
During the team’s playoff game against Houston, receiver Andre Johnson burned
Jones on a 40-yard touchdown catch. Cincinnati lost 31-10 and the play has
been in his craw ever since.
“That game left a bad taste in our mouths, especially in mine,” Jones said. “I
had a double-move put on and I haven’t forgotten that play. And I knew that
play was coming. I was tired, forgot my technique and that’s the type of
stuff that will happen. I’m doing everything in my power to make sure that
doesn’t happen again. That play is a mental note and at the top of my board.”
Although he’s assumed a leadership role in an aging secondary, Jones still
must compete against the veterans and younger players.
“Well, I’m one of the young guys. We do have a couple of old guys in our
locker room (laugh),” he said. “We’re just trying to get each other better
as a group. It’s a good group, everybody likes each other and we like to
compete. We pretty much listen to each other in terms of critiquing the
game. I like the group we have in the secondary.”
Expectations are high stemming from the success of last season. There will be
little room for error – or drama.
“We have to keep competing and making sure everyone is on the same page,”
Jones said. “Our expectations were high last year so nothing has changed in
that regard. Coach (Marvin) Lewis does a great job getting the guys on the
same page and working toward one goal.
“We have a lot of young guys on this team that love to compete and just have
fun. At the end of the day if you’re not having fun something’s wrong. This
team is not your old Bengals.”