If the NFL was looking for the best possible speaker to invite to this year’s Rookie Symposium in order to express to this year’s rookie class the wrong way to do things, they couldn’t have done much better than Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones.
Jones was the sixth overall pick of the 2005 Draft and made good on his lofty draft position in his early years with the Titans. He never fully blossomed into a star, though, because he couldn’t stay out of trouble off the field. That led to suspensions, long absences from the game and his departure from Tennessee, leaving him to continue his career as a sub corner without any of the special buzz he brought to the game when he first hit the NFL.
Avoiding the same kind of career trajectory was the theme of Jones’ speech to the rookies on Monday. He didn’t want the NFL Network or NFL.com to broadcast his discussion, but he shared some of what he talked about with Jeff Darlington of NFL.com.
“If I could tell them anything, I just want them to realize this is a business,” Jones said. “When you sign your contract, you are the head CEO of your company. The Adam Jones Company – whatever it is. We can’t go running down a field for the rest of our life. Every decision you make is critical. It might not get you now. But it will get you later.”
The NFL should hope that Jones is a better speaker than he is a listener. Jones told Darlington that he didn’t pay any attention during his own time attending the symposium, something he regrets as a missed learning opportunity. Monday’s speech seemed to captivate one listener. Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner told Darlington that he sought out Jones for advice after the speech wrapped up.
“He was going through something that I was going through, so I asked him personally what he did so I can try to apply it to my life,” said Wagner. “It helps knowing that somebody went through what you went through. You can take what you need from it and apply it to your life. “A lot of players in here are going through some of the same things, whether its baby mamas or trying to pick a financial advisor to an issue with an agent. We can learn from this. We can learn from him.”
That would be the first clear positive to come out of the mistakes Jones has made in his career.