The percentages will get you in the end on these rehabilitation projects. You hope guys such as these will only break your heart, not your *team.
Ask Tennessee about some of that. See what they got out of his 4.4 speed they thought was worth the chance of taking him with the sixth pick in the draft. Think they might want a do-over, maybe have taken, oh, DeMarcus Ware with that pick instead?
Not saying dealing with Pacman is wrong. Not saying don't do it. Not saying it won't work. All I'm presenting is a cautionary side.
Like his game namesake, you just hope Pacman eats the dots if he ends up here, not all the damning ghosts that seemingly still get in his way.*
Jerry knew you couldn't trust this guy, but he was willing to do whatever it took to not only cheaply acquire a talented player - he thought - but also possibly rehabilitate a troubled 24-year-old in need of a guidance. And Jerry tried, hiring counselors and bodyguards, along with taking over the kid's finances, to the point of running his checkbook so he was assured all bills were paid and that he wouldn't foolishly spend every penny he didn't have.
And what's the kid do? Behind his back, he starts borrowing money from his bodyguards. Help me. What's that animal whose stripes don't ever change?
Too many people who should know told me it was only a matter of time before Pacman screwed up, that despite all he had at stake, despite not having a pot to you know what in, he still was living on an edgeless ledge.
And that's the kind of guy you want to trust in a 24-24 overtime game to do the right thing in coverage under pressure?
Now the Cowboys didn't come right out and say they are washing their hands of this guy. In fact, Jerry Jones made it sound as if the further stipulations the commissioner is placing on Pacman during his newest suspension might even discourage him from even trying to get back in the league . . . again. This all sounded so tough, that merely failing to cover his mouth when he sneezes in public could earn him a lifetime ban from the NFL.
There may be no decision there for the Cowboys to ever make. So Jerry basically straddled the fence on if he'd welcome him back into his locker room, which I'm guessing guys in there must feel betrayed by the guy they befriended and trusted to be there in their time of need - which is now, which was last Tuesday night knowing he would be showing up for work at 8 a.m. Wednesday as the team's starting cornerback with Terence Newman's injury.
"If he earns his way back," Jones said, heavy on the if, "then I would definitely consider him back with the Cowboys."
Consider bringing him back? Or consider him a Cowboy again? Jerry didn't clarify.
Judging by Pacman's record, he may never have to.
There was a tone of resignation in Jerry's voice, and he even relayed the message he gave Pacman in one of his many conversations with him on Tuesday, this one in particular after the Cowboys completed the trade for Roy Williams, along with signing him to what promises to be a lucrative five-year extension:
"I just have to make a point with you - here I am making this kind of commitment with Roy Williams, gives us a chance to meet the goals of everybody on the team, and more importantly see the kind of financial commitment I'm making, and that's exactly what you're screwing with if the curtain doesn't come up about your decision making.
"That's exactly what you're foregoing, is that kind of potential compensation."
There is a long line of people out there Jerry Jones has privately helped that you will never know about, people who were down on their luck, most who could do nothing more for him in return other than to be grateful for a job or a little something to get them back on their feet, be it money or just offering his capable arm.
But Pacman didn't get it, no matter what he said or how close to God he contended to be. He was addicted to the spotlight, having always to be "the man" when he was out and about. Poor guy, he would hear but he wouldn't listen. Kind of sad in a way that he would even put himself in a position to allow some dude named "uh, Jim" to possibly make the final call on his NFL career.
So for now, as Jerry says, "his curtain" remains down, tight to the very stage that habitually seduces him. Pacman just might have eaten his last ghost.