Any other team might have washed their hands of Adam Jones this offseason. (Of course, any team other than the Bengals might have previously.)
But the veteran cornerback grew emotional Thursday when discussing the team’s support, saying that owner Mike Brown sticking up for him made an impact.
“When you have a guy upstairs that stands up for you, that sticks up for the players — I haven’t been around a guy like that in my lifetime, speaking of Mr. Brown,” Jones said, via Katherine Terrell of ESPN.com. “So I’m very eager to be the best and make sure our group is the best. As you can see, it’s a little touching for me. . . .
“The respect and the love that I have for Mr. Brown is undeniable. Words can’t express the gratitude of how I feel about him. . . . Words can’t explain. I can’t explain . . . that I have somebody that understands me as a person and that’s not quick to judge.”
Jones was suspended the first game of the season for violating the league’s personal conduct policy, after his arrest in January on assault charges (which included spitting on a jailhouse nurse).
Suffice it to say, it wasn’t Jones’ first brush with trouble, or even trouble in Cincinnati. And because he turns 34 in September and makes a lot of money, it’s reasonable to wonder whether it might have been the last straw. But the Bengals have always provided safe harbor for guys who need second and third and fourth chances (it’s no accident Joe Mixon ended up where he is), so Jones’ tearful salute to Brown is interesting to say the least.
But Jones has also walked around with a chip on his shoulder for years, and he admitted proving people wrong was part of his motivation as well.
“I’ve always been the one that thrived off the little things, and I’d be sitting here lying to tell you all I didn’t read half of the s— that you all write, and I do because at the end of day I have this thing in the back of my head that tells me to prove every last one of you all wrong,” he said. “Motivation comes in all different forms of factor. At the end of the day I like winning. I’ve always been like that. I love to compete to prove you guys wrong to make you write something different. Of course the record had a lot to do with it, but you guys have a lot to do with motivation, too.”
Jones is probably lucky to play for Brown, or else he might not have gotten as many chances as he has.