Schwartz's experience key in Jones issue

March, 24, 2010
3/24/10
10:30
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ORLANDO, Fla. -- Detroit coach Jim Schwartz's admission that the Lions are "definitely interested" in free agent cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones created a national headline. But as you know, we've joined Detroit-area media members in discussing this possibility for the past week.

[+] EnlargeAdam Jones
AP Photo/Tony GutierrezAdam Jones hasn't played in the NFL since the 2008 season.
So on Wednesday, my question for Schwartz was this: How could a coach who endured Jones' act for two years in Tennessee be "definitely interested" in adding him to a team that he now has total responsibility for? I put it a bit nicer than that during the NFC coaches breakfast, but I wanted to know how much Schwartz will weigh his past experience into the decision-making process.

"There is something to be said for a clean slate," Schwartz said. "But he obviously doesn't have one. He's at a little different point in his career with everything that's gone on. There's going to be more scrutiny with him. If he gets a parking ticket, it's going to be news. He needs to understand that. I'm sure he does. And the team needs to understand that. 'Clean slate' sounds good and probably should be the case, but he's probably not in that category."

Schwartz said he has kept "a little bit in contact" with Jones over the years, but gave no indications they have maintained any type of relationship.

My position hasn't changed. The Lions want Jones because he would give them a starting cornerback on a defense that currently has only one player of that caliber (Chris Houston) on its depth chart. But nothing that's happened in Jones' career suggests he could be counted on to provide 16 uninterrupted starts.

Schwartz is also potentially putting himself in a tough position. Although he characterized the Jones issue as an "organizational decision," it's going to be hard to remove his fingerprints if the Lions sign him. While Schwartz might not be close with Jones, there is no one in the Lions organization who knows him better. Whether he likes it or not, his reputation as a judge of character rests in the balance.

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