INDIANAPOLIS _ Adam “Pacman” Jones’ suspension has been extended and will not be reviewed until sometime before the opening of training camp, according to a letter the suspended Tennessee Titans’ cornerback received from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.
“Most recently, we’ve been told that he won’t be reinstated immediately as was our hope,” said attorney Manny Arora, who is at the NFL Combine along with Jones’ Nashville-based attorney Worrick Robinson. “The idea is that he continues to meet some sign posts that the commissioner has put out there, and if he meets those over the next however many weeks or months, then he will be allowed to come back and we can petition to let him back in.”
According to NFL spokesman Greg Aiello, Jones will no longer be permitted to work out at the Titans' facilities during his suspension and will have his status reviewed by Goodell sometime before the opening of training camp in July.
"The letter prohibits Adam Jones from using team facilities for workouts," Aiello said. "There is no change in his status. He remains suspended and will be considered for reinstatement prior to the opening of training camp."
As the suspension enters its 10th month, Jones remains in limbo, as do the Titans, who are expected to try and trade Jones or release him once he is reinstated, according to league sources.
For Arora, timing is critical, because this week at the NFL Combine teams are already plotting strategies as far as their needs in the draft and free agency. It is a short window for Jones to find a role on team for 2008.
“Our only hope is that we can do that sooner rather than later because that allows him to be a productive part of the Titans, which is my personal goal for Adam and get his retribution with the team, as far as that goes,” Arora said. “However, if the Titans choose not to have him, but to trade him or release him, it would give another team the opportunity to get their roster set and get the salary cap worked out.
“If he gets in before the mini-camps or before the draft starts [it’s fine]. Otherwise, it makes it more difficult, because teams are going to set their rosters with punt returners and cornerbacks, and it puts us well behind the eight-ball and may cause us to suffer through another season where he may not be on the roster, and that is really, really unfair.”
Jones was originally suspended by Goodell for the 2007 season on April 10 with the possibility to apply for reinstatement after 10 games. That request was rejected by Goodell, and Arora takes issue with the fact that other players suspended, such as Chris Henry, Tank Johnson and Ricky Williams are already back in the league, while Jones remains out.
“Based on the conviction out of Las Vegas, which is a misdemeanor and a conspiracy to commit a misdemeanor, it’s a very minor charge,” Arora said. “Not to say that the incident itself isn’t a big one, but we didn’t have anything to do with it. That’s what started this whole thing, and it seems nobody wants to recognize that it wasn’t our responsibility what happened there.
“Yet, we’ve been given the longest suspension in history, and it’s infuriating to me that we’re the poster child for this thing when you compare it to some of the other players. No offense to the other players, but when you look at some of the other players that are playing and what they’ve had in their background, it just seems patently unfair and grossly disproportionate to what’s happening.”
Jones’ fate regarding the add-on of the suspension was apparently sealed when he was in an Atlanta strip club in January. Initially, a woman claimed that Jones punched her in the establishment, but the application for a warrant was withdrawn.
“I think he just wants to see a longer track record of better judgment about whether or not you go to a nightclub and those kinds of things,” Arora said. “I don’t necessarily know what all they want, except what I’ve been told. So I think we’re going to be able to meet some .of those criteria.
“This thing back in January, everybody agrees that there’s no merit to it, it causes us consternation and we’re getting penalized more and more for it. Yes, we should have had better judgment and not putting ourselves in that situation. But at some point, you just have to say that this is getting ridiculous and the punishment doesn’t fit. I don’t know when that point gets reached, but I’m beyond frustrated, especially when I see guys in the league and look at some of the other things and players have been allowed back in.”
In terms of Jones’ fate if and when he is reinstated, Arora said he would be willing to work with the Titans or whatever team wanted the cornerback to help lessen the cap hit.
“If the team would like to work those things out, I would be willing to do whatever it is in Adam’s best interests,” Arora said. “My personal goal is to keep him with the Titans, and if those are some of the other issues that need to come up, that’s fine. The problem we have before we get to that step is the reinstatement.
“If the Titans want to keep him and have him for next year or trade him or release him, there really is no movement you can have until you reinstate him because there is no security. Whether the team would want to restructure the contract or do this or that, we’d be open to all those options, if and when that becomes a reality.”
According to Arora, Jones is going to become more involved in charity work as part of the plan to be reinstated. He has been approached about becoming a spokesman for an Atlanta-based group that supports underprivileged children who have no parents and are being raised by grandparents, and also by a couple of colleges who want him to talk about the consequences of bad choices.