Monday, June 2, 2008
Updated: June 3, 1:30 PM ET
Pacman could be fully reinstated by Sept. 1 if behavior holds up
By John Clayton
Adam "Pacman" Jones and the Dallas Cowboys got what they were hoping for Monday -- a partial reinstatement of the suspended cornerback.
Commissioner Roger Goodell informed Jones on Monday he may participate in organized team activities, and the bonus includes training camp and preseason games. While that decision finally gives Jones the chance to earn his way back into the league, Goodell didn't guarantee he would be reinstated.
"This limited reinstatement is a step in the process," Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. "Adam is aware of the things that need to be done in order to take the next step."
A final determination will be made by Sept. 1. Jones will have to be on perfect behavior in order to be eligible for the 2008 season.
"Commissioner Goodell told Jones that his continued participation in the NFL depends on demonstrating that he can conduct himself in a lawful and reliable manner," the NFL said in a release Monday. "Jones will be expected to continue the personal conduct program established by the NFL and the Cowboys and to avoid further adverse involvement with law enforcement."
Getting Pacman back for so long, so soon is good news for Dallas. Hours later, the club had more reason to celebrate, agreeing to a new deal with Terrell Owens that keeps the receiver under contract through 2011.
Jones, who has been arrested six times and has been involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention since being drafted, was the main player involved in the league's player conduct policy, which was created to discipline players who have had repeated confrontations with the law. Jones missed all of last season under the player conduct policy and could miss all or part of the 2008 season if he has another incident.
Less than two weeks ago, Jones met with Goodell to discuss his status with the league. By giving Jones the chance to work at the Cowboys facility, Goodell apparently accepted Jones' explanations for allegedly giving money to a suspect in a shooting incident in Las Vegas. Goodell also must have accepted Jones' explanation for a $20,000 marker at a casino that was just recently paid.
Since being traded to the Cowboys, Jones has tried to surround himself with a better support group. He's befriended former Cowboys Michael Irvin and Deion Sanders. Now that he's allowed to be at the Cowboys facility, Jones will be able to work with Calvin Hill, a consultant who works with player development. Jones also has become friends with several of his new teammates, including Tank Johnson, whom the Cowboys helped return from a similar suspension last season.
"The important thing is getting him here and getting him acclimated," Johnson said. "I have told him you are a good kid, we know you and we're looking forward to having you on the team and we're excited about you proving everybody wrong."
The Cowboys could use another good cornerback, but they're not hanging their hopes on Jones, having spent a first-round pick on Michael Jenkins. Jenkins and fellow first-rounder Felix Jones also can handle kick returns if Pacman isn't around -- or even if he is.
Basically, the team isn't getting its hopes up, considering Pacman's availability a bonus.
"If [Pacman] can come out and help us here, great," said linebacker Bradie James, the defensive captain last season. "But if he doesn't, we've got enough guys to make it happen."
Jerry Jones has even talked about using Pacman as an extra wide receiver. That's fine by Owens, who expects Pacman to be committed to staying out of trouble.
"I think now with a year out of football, he has to really put his life and career in perspective," Owens said. "I haven't seen him play offense. Obviously he has some return skills. Any time you can get a guy like [that] to get their hands on the ball, it's going to help your offense."
Terence Newman, the team's top cornerback, is looking forward to the help, too.
"We're all waiting for him to get here. The sooner the better," Newman said. "It will definitely be a little shock when he gets back because the speed of the game is what you're not used to. You can play basketball, can do a lot of things, but you can never simulate going against a receiver, pressing a guy and having a guy run full speed at you."
Secondary coach Dave Campo expects Jones to adapt quickly. Campo figures the biggest obstacle will be learning Dallas' terminology. Jones wasn't allowed to have a playbook while banned from the facility.
"Pretty much, coverage is coverage," Campo said. "I've looked at some tape of him and I've put a couple tapes together for him when he comes in to show him some stuff. But I saw him up close and personal in Jacksonville. He beat us single-handedly in a game
so I know him pretty well."
John Clayton is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com. The Associated Press contributed to this report.