Bengals reveal Pacman played with concussion
CINCINNATI — Bengals cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones played more than one half of last Sunday’s 14-13 win at Tampa Bay with a concussion after denying that he had any symptoms to three different medical parties.
Jones denied during the game that he was experiencing any concussion symptoms to Bengals trainers, to the team doctor and to the independent neurologist assigned to the game. He changed his tune after the game, telling Bengals trainers that he felt he was suffering from concussion symptoms. Jones was twice examined during the game, and in both cases no evidence of a concussion was found.
Jones did not practice on Wednesday as the Bengals prepare for Sunday’s home game against Pittsburgh and is listed with a concussion on the team’s official injury report. Reporters approached Jones during media availability on Wednesday, before anyone knew he had been placed under the NFL’s concussion protocol, only to be waved off by trainer Nick Cosgrove. Players under the protocol are not allowed to speak to the media.
Bengals officials believe Jones suffered a concussion in the second quarter when he was returning a punt. Jones had not called for a fair catch since 2006 and didn’t call for one despite Michael Koenen’s short boot of just 37 yards. Jones was hit hard and hit immediately by Orie Lemon for no gain. Jones again declined to fair catch a Koenen punt after the first drive of the third quarter, a punt that was again short at just 36 yards. This time Bobby Rainey tackled Jones immediately for no gain.
Brandon Tate was put in the game to field Tampa Bay’s next punt but Jones was again back to return a Koenen punt in the fourth quarter. This time he called for a fair catch. It was the first fair catch by Jones after 96 consecutive returns.
Jones ranks fifth in the NFL in punt returns with an 11.7-yard average. He is also second in the league in kickoff returns with an average of 31.5 yards per return.
There was no indication during the game that Jones had been affected by the two previous hits. He made two tackles in 35 defensive snaps (54 percent), which is normal for him as the third cornerback along with Leon Hall and Terence Newman. He also played on seven special teams snaps. Jones returned two kickoffs for a 27.5-yard average.
Bengals head coach Marvin Lewis spoke on Monday about convincing Jones to fair catch punts when necessary.
"I did try to give him advice," said Lewis. "Those aren’t kicks you can return. We’re going to get good field position, so don’t risk yourself getting injured over this thing that I don’t want to fair catch. That’s not smart. We want to play smart football."