Bombers take gamble on Pacman Jones
Adam (Pacman) Jones is joining the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, according to multiple reports.
The controversial defensive back, who was cut by the NFL's Dallas Cowboys in February, agreed Monday to a one-year deal with the Blue Bombers and could report to Winnipeg as soon as Wednesday, SI.com reported.
"It'll be a good experience for me to get back in game shape, and compete and play football, which I like to do," Jones told SI.com. "I'm real happy for the opportunity that's been given to me. Of course it's disappointing to me to not be playing in the NFL. But things happen and you have to adjust."
NFL bad boys turn to CFL
Ricky Williams (Toronto): Violated NFL's substance-abuse policy.
Lawrence Phillips (Montreal, Calgary): Arrested for assaulting his ex-girlfriend; sentenced 10 years in 2008 for seven counts of assault with a deadly weapon.
R. Jay Soward (Toronto, Montreal): Repeat drug offender.
Andre Rison (Toronto): Arrested several times for failing to pay child support.
Marc Gastineau (B.C. Lions): Drug possession and domestic violence.
Worrick Robinson, Jones's lawyer and agent, wouldn't confirm that Jones is headed to Winnipeg, but did say he's in negotiations with a CFL team and felt a deal could be completed by the end of the week.
"He's still young and has a lot of playing days ahead of him," Robinson told The Associated Press. "If the CFL deal works out, it will be a good opportunity for him to get back on the field and show what he can do."
Jones is free to join the Blue Bombers because he isn't currently serving an NFL suspension and as a free agent can sign with any team. After the Toronto Argonauts' signing of Ricky Williams in 2006, the CFL changed its rules, banning suspended players from coming north.
The the average CFL salary is roughly $60,000, although top cornerbacks in the league can earn six figures. Still, that's a far cry from the reported $1.3-million US base salary he gave up in '07 when he was suspended for his reported involvement in a shooting incident outside a Las Vegas strip club that left a club manager paralyzed.
He pleaded no contest to one count of conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and received a one-year suspended sentence. Jones was later suspended by the NFL for the entire 2007 season, and the Titans traded him to Dallas prior to the 2008 campaign.
The 26-year-old is notorious for his multiple run-ins with the law, which led to two separate suspensions by the NFL. He has been arrested at least six times and interviewed by police on at least a dozen occasions since being drafted by the Tennessee Titans with the sixth overall pick of the 2005 NFL draft.
Jones ran into more off-the-field trouble while with the Cowboys, getting into an alcohol-related conflict with a team-appointed bodyguard at a Dallas hotel in October. The incident led to a four-game suspension from the NFL, and Jones spent part of his time off taking part in an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Eyeing NFL return?
His performance on the field was uneven. Expected to give the Cowboys a boost on defence and special teams, Jones had 31 tackles and no interceptions in his nine games (six starts). He averaged only 4.5 yards on his 21 punt returns, with the longest 18 yards, and was released by the Cowboys at season's end.
The Blue Bombers (3-5), in third place in the CFL's East division, hope Jones can boost an already solid defence that leads the league in interceptions and ranks second in points allowed.
His presence at cornerback would give the Bombers the luxury of having a shutdown defender who could single-handedly take care of an opponent's top receiver.
That would allow Winnipeg to either double-team another pass catcher or send more linebackers in blitz situations to pressure opposing quarterbacks.
"If I was in the same position in the NFL, I might have a lot more reservations," Winnipeg director of player personnel John Murphy told SI.com.
"But for me it's a win-win. I'm smart enough to know that if I'm looking for somebody who can be a playmaker for the second half of our season, there isn't a better football player who's not in the NFL, at 25 years old, who's ready to play football, is going to play with a chip on his shoulder, and is going to bring some fun and excitement to our team, our locker room, our city, and our league.
"And at the same time, it's a business decision as well as football decision. From a marketing standpoint, a business standpoint and a football standpoint, I could go to 100 NFL training camps and every preseason game and more people will hear and know about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the next two weeks — from the coverage we'll receive — than in the last 10 years."
Jones, meanwhile, will be looking to repair his reputation, perhaps for a return to the NFL.
SI.com reported that Jones turned down a contract offer from the fledgling United Football League. The UFL, which begins play in October, has a six-game season, while CFL teams still have 10 weeks left.
Also, UFL players are prohibited from jumping to the NFL before Dec. 1 while CFL players can leave earlier if given a release.
With files from The Canadian Press