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Tuesday, May 11, 2010
The Big Question: Pacman's impact?

By James Walker

NFC Big Question: East | West | North | South AFC: East | West | North | South

What are realistic expectations for controversial Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones, who was inactive in 2009?

On one hand, the Bengals recently added a talented former first-round pick at cornerback who's known for his return skills. But on the other hand, Cincinnati also added a player with a checkered past who hasn't played in the NFL since 2008.

Pacman Jones
Adam "Pacman" Jones hasn't played since 2008.
Welcome to the enigma of Adam "Pacman" Jones.

The Bengals signed the embattled cornerback to a two-year deal. But there is no way to know exactly what Cincinnati is getting next season.

Jones could quickly develop into the athletic, No. 3 cornerback the Bengals are hoping for. If that's the case, Jones would provide an immediate impact by filling a void in the secondary for the reigning AFC North champs. Cincinnati's defense struggled covering slot receivers last year.

But Jones' history also suggests that, potentially, he could become a distraction for the Bengals. Rust also will be an issue. Cincinnati is trying to make the jump to being a legitimate contender in the AFC and can't afford any problems.

The "Pacman" Jones experiment didn't work for the Tennessee Titans and Dallas Cowboys. Both franchises tried, then eventually felt he wasn't worth the headache and moved on.

Now it's the Bengals' turn, and they're hoping for different results.