Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones will take part in a panel discussion at this year's rookie symposium.
ESPN's Adam Schefter reported the news via Twitter:
NFL has chosen Adam Jones to speak later this month at the rookie symposium.— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) June 13, 2012
The Tennessee Titans drafted Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in 2005. He impressed immediately upon arrival with his speed and kick-returning skills.
He had a breakout performance in his second season in Tennessee and finished the year with 62 tackles, four interceptions and three punt returns for touchdowns.
However, he soon became better known for off-field incidents than his talents on the gridiron.
In 2007, Jones was involved in a shooting at a strip club in Las Vegas where a man was left paralyzed from the waist down, according to ESPN.com.
It was later revealed that Jones paid $15,000 to a man connected with the shooting, also via ESPN.com.
Prior to the 2007 NFL season, commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones without pay for the entire year, as noted in an ESPN.com article. The Las Vegas incident was the final straw, but the report notes that 10 different incidents influenced Goodell’s decision.
He continues to play for the Bengals, and his transgressions certainly give him a unique perspective that he can share with young players.
Jones is a living example for incoming rookies that there are consequences for whom they decide to hang out with, where they decide to go and when they decide to go there.
He can tell young players that they themselves don’t have to fire a gun or throw a punch to get in trouble. All they have to do is be in the wrong place with the wrong people.
This is not to suggest that Jones is blameless because he certainly shoulders a significant amount of responsibility for a man being paralyzed, but the lesson that Jones can teach better than anyone deals with major lifestyle changes.
The money and success can be too much, too soon for many of these players in their early 20s, and they have to show maturity at a young age. Some will have to make drastic changes to the way they conduct themselves and the decisions they make because they are professionals once they sign a contract.
This can be extremely difficult, and Jones can attest to how much of a struggle it can be. His experience is valuable to the young players in the NFL, and the league made a wise decision to let him share his story.