IRVING, Texas – The cornerback formerly known as "Pacman" has turned things around in Cincinnati, beginning with a name change.
Off the field issues and injuries limited Adam "Pacman" Jones everywhere he went, from Tennessee to Dallas to free agency, but Bengals coach Marvin Lewis hasn't seen the same "Pacman" in Cincinnati. He doesn't even want to acknowledge the nickname.
"Adam?" Lewis responded when answering a question about how "Pacman" was doing in Cincinnati. "Pacman got left in Dallas," Lewis said. "He's really done well. I think all the athleticism and all the ability that he has, it's been great to see it come to the forefront. He's obviously turned his life around in a lot of ways. It's fun to see him as a dad and doing the things he's doing here. He's really helped a lot of the young players."
Helping others would have seemed an impossible task at his previous NFL stops, where helping himself was difficult enough.
Jones was suspended for the 2007 season for violating the NFL's player conduct policy after two years with the Titans, where his antics off the field trumped his playmaking ability on the field. Jones finished with four interceptions in 2006 before getting traded to the Cowboys in 2008, where an altercation with a bodyguard and a neck injury forced him out of seven games.
To his credit, he's made the most of his opportunity in Cincinnati. Jones' talent was never in question, but his ability to stay on the field was. Injuries limited him in his previous two seasons with the Bengals, but he's suited up in all 12 games this year.
Jones has seven pass deflections, one forced fumble and a punt return for a touchdown this season.
"Not many people get to live through what he lived through and still be standing to play in the National Football League," Lewis said. "His story is one that will be written for a while of a guy who football was that important to him that he realized that a lot of the things that were going on in his life were not benefitting his opportunity to play football. They were taking football away from him, and you can tell how important football is to him."