Broncos look for experience, not baggage in Pacman Jones
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — As far as the Broncos are concerned, Adam “Pacman” Jones brings experience and energy to Denver but none of the baggage from a long list of run-ins with the law and the league.
The Broncos signed Jones to a one-year, $1,015,000 deal over the weekend to bolster their banged-up secondary and their punt return unit.
Although Jones’ background includes two dozen games lost to suspension over his 11-year NFL career, coach Vance Joseph vouched for Jones’ character as a player and as a person Monday.
“I’ve coached him for two seasons and his football character is A-plus,” said Joseph, who tutored Jones during his best seasons in 2014 and 2015. “He was a team captain for us. He made a Pro Bowl for me. He’s great in meetings, he’s great in the locker room, he’s a great leader. He’s played a long time in this league.
“Now, personal character, we all know the background. He would even acknowledge as a young guy he made some mistakes. But he’s paid for every mistake he’s made,” Joseph said. “I mean, this guy has been through a lot in this life, and obviously it was his own doings. But he’s paid for those mistakes.
“He’s matured, he’s a married (father) of three and he wants to win football games. So, he’s here to help us win football games.”
Jones said he’s come to terms with his past transgressions, suggesting “you learn from your mistakes and move on” while also confronting them head-on.
“God has blessed me with so many opportunities and I’m one of the ones who doesn’t mind telling kids and people about my stories and the mistakes I’ve made,” Jones said. “I don’t have no shield. My life is a glass life. It’s nothing that I’m hiding from nobody.”
Jones said his focus now is on football and family .
“And I have three beautiful kids. That’s what life is about for me now,” Jones said. “I’m about to turn 35 and the best thing I can do right now is at least win a playoff game, you know? I haven’t won a playoff game. I’ve been in the league 12 years. So, I’m just trying to win a playoff game and help these guys as much as I can.”
“We have a talented group of guys here in the backfield, all around the team. So, I’m not here to try to take no shine. I promise you guys that. I’m here to help and lead in the best way I can.”
Joseph said Jones’ addition fills two needs, as a fourth cornerback and a punt returner.
He said he met with general manager John Elway and they determined that they needed help in both areas, “and there was one guy that fit the bill. I mean, he solves two issues.”
The sixth overall pick of the 2005 draft by the Tennessee Titans, Jones had been out of the NFL since March when the Cincinnati Bengals declined to pick up his $5.5 million contract option after his 2017 season was cut short by a groin injury.
He said he never lost hope that he’d continue his pro career that also included a stop in Dallas in 2008.
“No, I was never worried,” Jones said. “That’s why I kept working out. But as you saw today, if you’re going to be working at mile high, you’ve got to work out at mile high.”
The Broncos traded cornerback Aqib Talib to the Rams in the offseason and signed veteran free agent Tremaine Brock. Jones’ addition was welcome news to star Chris Harris Jr., who said Jones “knows what’s going on out there on the field, he’s played in this system, he knows the checks, he knows everything about it.”
Although Jones said he should get up to speed by the season opener against Seattle on Sept. 9, he had a tough time adjusting to the altitude at his first practice.
“Hard to breathe around here,” Jones said. “But all in all, I feel good.”
Joseph was non-committal about whether Jones or safety Su’a Cravens, who returned to practice Monday after missing most of training camp with a sore knee, will play at Arizona in the Broncos’ exhibition finale Thursday night.
Nose tackle Domata Peko, who played with Jones in Cincinnati, gave him a tour of team headquarters before practice.
“He’s someone that on Sunday you want him on your team,” Peko said.