Adam Jones is willing, and eager to tell anyone who will listen he’s not the same man who was once known as Pacman.
But that doesn’t mean he’s a finished product.
The NFL didn’t flinch from having him come to the Rookie Symposium as a speaker after his June 10 arrest for misdemeanor assault for an incident outside a bar, and Jones said that it’s evidence that maturity is not a one-step process.
During an interview with FOXSports.com’s Alex Marvez and Jim Miller on SiriusXM NFL Radio, Jones called that incident “one hiccup.”
“Me being confronted or touched with a particular object, that’s an area I have to work on,” Jones said. “If it had been anything else, I probably would have walked away. But when I’m being physically touched …
“Nothing happens overnight. I’ve made a lot of changes. I don’t go out to the places I used to. I don’t hang with the people I used to hang with. The only thing I can control is what I’m doing in the community. Being a great father at home. My fiancée is very happy. I’m good with my teammates. I’m not out getting drunk all through the night. I’m not out at 3 or 4 in the morning. If you recall, the incident happened at 10:15. I didn’t have a drink. The young lady that was in the party was drinking.”
Of course, learning to step away from potentially dangerous situations is exactly the kind of thing the league’s trying to teach its rookies this week.
Jones said he mostly avoids his hometown of Atlanta, where too many friends and family members still refer to him by his old nickname.
“It’s not that I can’t handle it. But the crowd I used to hang with, they’re still doing the same things and don’t have anything to lose,” Jones said. “When I was hanging with them and doing the things they were doing, there was nobody there to tell me, ‘No, Pac. You shouldn’t go in the strip club tonight. No, Pac. It isn’t cool that you want to fight that dude.’ With time, you grow. . . .
“Everybody when I’m in Atlanta wants to come to my house to get in the pool and drink liquor. I’m not with that. The last time I went home there was no liquor at my house. If you are coming over here, don’t bring liquor – period. But people have to live and learn and want to do better. I’m a true believer in that.”
Jones has a powerful message to share. If he can put his words into practice, and stay out of the headlines for the wrong reasons, the message gains strength.