|ESPN.com: NFL||[Print without images]|
Adam "Pacman" Jones told USA Today Sports earlier this week that he doesn't know why he shouldn't talk to the NFL's rookies later this month, saying he's confident he'll be cleared of his recent assault charge and that he has an important message to share.
"Why would I not keep talking to the youth and help the youth out like I did last year because of somebody else acting up?" he told the newspaper Tuesday. "I guess right now I'm getting accused of doing something wrong. The video speaks a thousand words and that'll take care of itself, but I don't see any reason why I should be shying away from any conversations or anything that matters to me and my youth."
The Cincinnati Bengals cornerback said he is a good father and husband and is "not out getting drunk, harassing people and being a [jerk] to people."
Jones, 29, will be one of the guest speakers at the NFL's Rookie Symposium on June 23-29 in Aurora, Ohio. He also spoke at last year's event for first-year players.
He told USA Today that his inability to escape his past will be an important topic.
"No matter how much I've done to improve or give back to the community or just growing as a person, the first time something pops up, it's all, 'Well, he's done this in the past,'" Jones told the newspaper. "I've made this bed for myself. I'm not comfortable lying in it, but at some point, the past has to be the past. … I'm truly proud of the person I've become, and I'm still growing every day. I don't have no regrets or worries."
In an interview with ESPN Radio on Wednesday, Jones walked hosts Mark Schlereth and Bram Weinstein through surveillance video that has been posted online of the incident in which he is accused of hitting a 34-year-old woman at a downtown Cincinnati nightclub on June 5. He has pleaded not guilty.
He said the woman who has accused him of assaulting her hit him with a bottle and his "instant reaction was to slap her shoulder down."
"She reported to police that I punched her in her face. If I would have punched her in her face, there's no way she would have got up, period, point blank," he said. "There's no way I punched this young lady in her face and she didn't have a mark on her face when she went to the police."
Jones pleaded guilty in January 2012 to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct. He had been accused of shouting profanities and trying to pull away as police arrested him at a Cincinnati bar months earlier.
Also last year, Jones was ordered to pay $11 million in damages to two Las Vegas strip club employees injured in 2007 when a gunman claiming he was doing Jones' bidding opened fire outside the club after Jones and his entourage were kicked out. A club manager was paralyzed from the waist down, and a bouncer was wounded.
Jones said he had no role in the shooting and pleaded an equivalent of no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct. The gunman, Arvin Kenti Edwards, is serving four to 10 years in prison.
"There's nobody who's gotten more chances than me, and when you do, when you're back in those situations … you're always going to be judged by your past, regardless of what anybody says," Jones told USA Today. "I just want to try to enlighten some of the guys so they don't have to go through the things I went through."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.