On the surface it seems that asking Adam (Pacman) Jones to speak to NFL rookies about how to forge their new careers is akin to asking Rush Limbaugh to give a talk about the benefits of liberalism.
Jones has taken the wrong path with each fork in the road he has confronted since the Tennessee Titans foolishly selected him sixth overall in the 2005 draft. He has since been arrested seven times — though never convicted – and has earned 22 games worth of league suspensions. He imfamously “made it rain” in 2007 by showering strippers with money, then participating in a fight at the club that led to gunfire and a shootout that landed three people in the hospital.
He has not exactly straightened up and flown right in the eyes of the law. He pled guilty in January to a misdemeanor charge of disorderly conduct for an incident six months earlier at a Cincinnati bar.
But we are a forgiving country. Jones has shown signs of maturing. Nothing has indicated he has been anything less than a model teammate since joining the Cincinnati Bengals in 2010 – never mind that he has started just once in 13 games played and that it’s doubtful he will ever realize the tremendous potential he once boasted. If Jones can impart wisdom to the gathering of NFL rookies through a rehashing of his many mistakes and what he has learned from them, the gesture will not have been in vain.
Perhaps Jones has turned his life around. Perhaps age and experience have brought him maturity, as well as a healthy outlook on priorities.
It’s certainly not too late for Jones to become a viable NFL player and law-abiding citizen. To paraphase a line from an iconic advertising campiagn: A Life is a Terrible Thing to Waste.
And if Jones has indeed gained a positive perspective, he has not wasted the last five years of his career.