With his NFL opportunities exhausted and no apparent desire to work for the upstart American football league that launches next month, cornerback Pacman Jones is heading to Canada.
So much for the notion that Americans with criminal records can’t cross the border to the north.
Per Jim Trotter of SI.com, Jones has agreed “in principle” (i.e., he can still bail if an NFL team decides to pursue him ASAFP) to a one-year deal with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers.
“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 Trotter. “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.”
The Titans made Jones the sixth overall pick in the 2005 draft. After a full-year
suspension in 2007 (thanks to a series of brushes with the law) and a multi-game suspension last season, Jones was
cut in the offseason by the Cowboys, and no NFL team expressed serious
interest in signing him.
As the rumors went, Jones was living in a house owned by Jerry Jones, who held out hope of bringing Pacman back. But the thinking is that Stephen Jones was dead set against the move.
Winnipeg’s director of player personnel, John Murphy, describes the acquisition of Jones in the middle of the 2009 season as part football strategy, part huckstering.
“If I was in the same position in the NFL I might have a lot more
reservations,” Murphy said. “But for me it’s a win-win. I’m smart
enough to know that if I’m looking for somebody who can be a playmaker
for the second half of our season, 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
“And at the same time it’s a business decision as well as football
decision,” Murphy said “From a marketing standpoint, a business standpoint and a
football standpoint, I could go to 100 NFL training camps [editor's note: we apparently missed the addition of 68 franchises] 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.”
Whether that’s good coverage or bad coverage remains to be seen.
Trotter explains that the terms of the deal are not yet available. So it’s unknown whether the package compares favorably to any offers Jones might have obtained to play in the UFL, whose Commissioner once represented Jones.
Trotter points out that the CFL option possibly gives Jones a quicker path to the NFL, since the standard UFL contract locks the player up until November 28. However, it appears that several UFL players already have been released from their contracts, even after the supposed deadline for departing of August 1.
Jones is now represented by Jason Fletcher and Worrick Robinson. Jones recently has mentioned a “Fletcher” on Pacman’s official Twitter page, which hasn’t yet hinted at his new football job.
But Pacman’s page still sports a photo of Jones wearing his finest hooded Zubaz formal wear, which unfortunately might clash a bit with his new colors in Canada.