DALLAS -- Adam “Pacman” Jones offered a three-hour mea culpa Tuesday with someone who knows what it’s like to be an NFL outcast.
The troubled cornerback, suspended from the NFL and unlikely to rejoin the Tennessee Titans if he gets to play again, was a guest on Michael Irvin’s radio show amid speculation he could become the Dallas Cowboys’ next reclamation project.
Jones was equal parts contrite and defiant in discussing his six arrests since being drafted three years ago, taking responsibility for “bad decisions” while disputing details of the police reports.
He spoke about the Titans in the past tense, said he wanted to be a Cowboy and expressed confidence that NFL commissioner Roger Goodell would reinstate him.
“I’m not sitting here telling you I don’t own up to mistakes I’ve made,” Jones said. “I accept everything, the punishment, everything that comes along with the bad decisions and bad choices I’ve made.
“In the end, I just pray to God I get a second chance.”
Jones’ host wasn’t easy on him, even though Irvin certainly knew where he was coming from. The former Cowboys star jeopardized his eventual Pro Football Hall of Fame induction with sordid off-the-field problems involving strippers and substance abuse.
Irvin once admitted that he thought his actions cost Dallas at least one Super Bowl, if not more. He was suspended for the first five games in 1996 after pleading no contest to felony cocaine possession stemming from an incident just weeks after the Cowboys’ last Super Bowl win.
“I think he’s more comfortable knowing I’ve gone through some stuff,” Irvin said during his show on KESN-FM in Dallas-Fort Worth.
Jones was the first defensive player drafted in 2005 with the sixth pick out of West Virginia, and he was Tennessee’s best defender in 2005 and 2006.
But Goodell suspended him for the 2007 season for his off-field conduct. Jones settled the last of his criminal charges Feb. 14 by entering a plea to obstruction of a police officer in Georgia, which left him with a felony conviction.
Jones had agreed to stay out of strip clubs, but went to an Atlanta club Jan. 3, prompting Goodell to send Jones a letter in February barring him from working out at Titans headquarters. Jones said he visited the strip club because he was rebelling against Goodell’s authority and has since realized that wasn’t a good idea.
“It was a bad decision—one of the dumbest decisions I’ve ever made,” said Jones, who didn’t stop to talk to reporters before or after Irvin’s show.
The commissioner has told Jones’ attorneys that he would be considered for reinstatement before training camp, and the league said Tuesday there was no change in that plan.
Jones said he hasn’t spoken to Goodell recently, but he looks hopefully toward April 10, the one-year anniversary of his suspension.
“As long as I keep doing what I’m doing, I will get reinstated,” he said.
Irvin started the show by tracing Jones’ roots, getting him to acknowledge that he was an “angry” child whose father was killed in a robbery when Jones was 8. The grandmother who raised him died when he was a freshman at West Virginia.
Jones said he’s working hard to make good decisions, such as avoiding some relatives he grew up with.
“It’s like I’m on a cliff right now. Any slip-up and I’m off the cliff,” said Jones, who said his relatives understand that he needs to “separate himself” from some people in his past.
Jones’ suspension can’t stop the Titans from trading him, which is where speculation about the Cowboys comes in. Published reports say the Cowboys are interested in pursuing Jones, but the team had no comment Tuesday.
Titans coach Jeff Fisher has repeatedly said that the team has “moved on” in regard to Jones.
Jones is hoping Cowboys owner Jerry Jones will give him a shot.
“This is where I want to be, and I hope it’ll work out in the long run and it’ll happen real quick,” he said. “It’s obvious Jerry does give people a second chance. He has a great heart. Hopefully, I can get one of those second chances.”
Dallas has had some success bringing in players with troubled pasts.
The Cowboys trace much of their Super Bowl success in the 1990s to plucking unhappy pass rusher Charles Haley out of San Francisco.
But the best example is current receiver Terrell Owens. After his stormy tenure in Philadelphia ended with a suspension and release, he came to Dallas and has been one of the league’s most productive receivers the past two seasons.
Owens gave Dallas a ringing endorsement.
“He said it’s a great city as long as you keep your head straight,” Jones said.