Tuesday, September 1, 2009
Pacman to play for Winnipeg in CFL
ESPN.com news services
Cornerback Pacman Jones, released by the Dallas Cowboys in February, has agreed to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL.
"It'll be a good experience for me to get back in game shape and compete and play football, which I like to do," Jones told SI.com, which first reported the story. "I'm real happy for the opportunity that's been given to me. Of course it's disappointing to me to not be playing in the NFL. But things happen and you have to adjust."
Jones, 25, chose the CFL over the inaugural United Football League, Jones' agents told SI.com. One of the factors was money -- contract details were not immediately known -- but Jones also will be able to play on both sides of the ball in the CFL, which still has 10 weeks remaining in its season. The four teams in the UFL will be playing a six-game schedule beginning in October.
"He's still young and has a lot of playing days ahead of him," Jones' attorney, Worrick Robinson, said. "If the CFL deal works out, it will be a good opportunity for him to get back on the field and show what he can do."
The Cowboys acquired Jones from the Tennessee Titans during the draft in April 2008, after he was suspended by the league for the entire 2007 season following multiple off-field incidents while with the Titans.
But during the 2008 season, Jones was suspended for six games by the NFL after getting into an alcohol-related scuffle in October with a team-provided bodyguard at a Dallas hotel. He spent part of that suspension in an alcohol rehabilitation program.
Expected to give the Cowboys a boost on defense and special teams, Jones had 31 tackles and no interceptions in his nine games (six of them starts). He averaged only 4.5 yards on 21 punt returns, with a long of 18 yards.
Before going to Dallas, Jones was arrested six times and involved in 12 instances requiring police intervention after Tennessee drafted him in the first round in 2005.
Robinson said there had been discussions with "a number of NFL teams" and there had been hopes Jones would be brought into a training camp. No offers were made, however, leaving the CFL as the next best opportunity for Jones to regain his footing.
"Another equation for NFL teams is what his conduct will be off the field and on the field," Robinson said. "It is a good opportunity for him to show the teams in the NFL that he has matured, that he's concentrating on the game and concentrating on his family and trying to leave the past in the past."
John Murphy, Winnipeg's director of player personnel, called the acquisition of Jones a "win-win" situation on and off the field, according to SI.com.
"From a marketing standpoint, a business standpoint and a football standpoint, I could go to 100 NFL training camps and every preseason game and more people will hear and know about the Winnipeg Blue Bombers in the next two weeks -- from the coverage we'll receive -- than in the last 10 years," he told SI.com.
"If I was in the same position in the NFL I might have a lot more reservations," Murphy added, according to SI.com. "... There isn't a better football player who's not in the NFL, at 25 years old, who's ready to play football, is going to play with a chip on his shoulder, and is going to bring some fun and excitement to our team, our locker room, our city, and our league."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.