This upcoming Sunday, the surprising 5-2 Cincinnati Bengals will be in Nashville to take on the Tennessee Titans and one of the more familiar faces on the opposing sidelines will be the Titans’ former 1st round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft — Adam “PacMan” Jones.
Pacman Jones, who needs no introduction to fans in Tennessee, has made more headlines off the field than on it — which is pretty sad considering that he’s been a productive player when he kept his priorities straight.
In an interview with Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean, Jones stated that the Titans “weren’t there for him when times got hard” but he did also show praise for former Titans Coach Jeff Fisher and Former Titans Defensive Coordinator Jim Schwartz (now the Lions’ coach).
“Yeah, I did (mess) things up off the field. I blame myself for that. But I will say when times got hard (the Titans) weren’t there for me. But I ain’t holding no grudges, man. Life is too short for grudges. I don’t have time for all of that.”
“Jeff never turned his back on me. Never. Ever. It was the front office, starting with the head man (owner Bud Adams). It is what it is, but Jeff has always been there for me. (Former defensive coordinator Jim) Schwartz was always there for me; (former defensive coordinator) Chuck (Cecil) was always there for me. I wouldn’t say it was my coaches who turned their backs on me — they would call me and see how I was doing. I don’t know who the main person was who wanted me out of there, I never really got to the bottom of it.”
When asked if he was out of control with the Titans, Pacman replied:
“I plead the Fifth. You can put that (expletive) in the Tennessee papers. Why would I tell you? That would be a headline story I know. But I take responsibility. I don’t have any regrets, no regrets. But there ain’t nothing working out in Tennessee; they done got rid of one of the best coaches in the NFL. I loved Fisher. He was good to me.”
I can believe Pacman when he said Jeff Fisher didn’t turn his back on him. Fisher was the league’s longest tenured coach at one point for a reason and was always a players’ coach. But there was a clear reason why Fisher is no longer the head coach in Tennessee. Jeff Fisher experienced the bulk of his success in the “Old NFL” and wasn’t able to adjust to the “passing league” that the NFL had become. Additionally, the issues with Vincent Paul Young didn’t help.
However, Pacman Jones fails to account for his off the field miscues which led to his demise in Tennessee. Though Pacman was worth the high 1st round pick on the field — he was nowhere near worth it off the field. The shootings, the strip clubs, the “making it rain” sessions ruined what was a player with such a high ceiling.
Considering that the Titans (who hadn’t drafted Vince Young yet in 2005), picked Pacman Jones 6th with Aaron Rodgers still on the board — these comments by Pacman have to be a slap in the face.
Though Pacman has found a second chance in Cincinnati is doing relatively well, his poor decisions have helped to shape the Titans into the team they are today — a team that drafts based on character as well as talent. Pacman Jones, along with guys like Vince Young and Albert Haynesworth have made the Titans very conscious of who they draft.
This showed when the Titans drafted QB Jake Locker eighth overall in this year’s draft. The Titans could have traded up to the back end of the first round to get Locker or waited till the second round to draft Andy Dalton. Many believed that the Titans would do this in order to select Nick Fairley with the No. 8 pick — however many believe that Tennessee wasn’t going to use a high pick on a guy who had character issues at Auburn.
In short, Pacman got the better end of the “deal”. He was able to screw over one franchise and somehow has managed to kill his career and subsequently resurrect it. If he thinks that the Titans weren’t there for him when times got hard, he may be right. BUT — he should at least remind himself that he made things difficult for himself.