Bengals cornerback Pacman Jones‘ appointment as speaker at the NFL’s annual rookie symposium probably drew a few eyerolls from cynics who have every right to be cynical about Jones, considering his long history of transgressions.
But the notion that Jones has turned over a new leaf isn’t a ruse. Bengals rookie cornerback Dre Kirkpatrick says Jones has already taken steps to steer him in the right direction.
“I haven’t had anything negative from him,” Kirkpatrick told the team’s website. “He doesn’t want to see me following in his footsteps. Just being around the wrong people. Surrounding myself with not a lot of positive people. Those are the things that he’s been trying to tell me.”
Jones is blunt when you ask him about his past.
“I was pathetic,” Jones said. “I had no respect for the money I got. I had respect for football. [But] I acted like I was still hanging out in college. I didn’t realize the scrutiny that came with it.”
Jones says a “big part” of his “message” at the rookie symposium will involve informing young players to stay away from problematic characters from their past, regardless of how long they’ve known them.
“When it gets down to the get-down, none of those guys will be there,” Jones said. “When you hit that dark wall, the only person you can probably call is your mom. You have to get through it. It’s easy to say, but when you go through it, it really hits you.”