The agent for Adam “Pacman” Jones said Monday he expects the suspended cornerback to report to Baptist Sports Park on Friday with the rest of his Tennessee Titans teammates as the team opens training camp.
Michael Huyghue said Jones still needs the green light from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in order to attend training camp. Huyghue said he has already scheduled a time talk with Goodell this week, but declined to reveal when that time was scheduled.
“The commissioner has checkpoints for him,” Huyghue said of Jones’ conditions under which he must abide by while suspended. “He is required to check in with the league and to be in good standing and to tell the commissioner what he has been doing.”
A spokesman in the NFL office said Monday it had nothing to report regarding the Jones situation. Last week, a league source said the possibility of Jones being at Titans training camp was still possible, but had not yet been finalized.
“He [Goodell] agreed to leave open the possibility of training camp — not preseason games — if Pacman abided by the terms of his suspension,” the source said. “Commissioner Goodell has been monitoring his circumstances and will advise him prior to the opening of Titans training camp.”
Jones’ attorney Manny Arora said he has informed Huyghue that there is nothing that should impede Jones’ court-wise from attending training camp and possibly playing in preseason games.
“We have advised them that there is nothing in the courts to impede him from participating,” Arora said. “The earliest the Georgia case will be revisited is in September and the Vegas thing is not scheduled until Oct. 29.”
Another interesting aspect of the situation with Jones is that Huyghue told The City Paper on Monday that he has not had any conversations with Titans coach Jeff Fisher or general manager Mike Reinfeldt about the cornerback being at training camp. Jones is currently allowed to visit the Titans practice facility once a week to work out and watch film, but cannot be on the practice field. The Titans are currently in a dead period in regards to players being at the facility until camp opens on Friday. Jones has been in Jacksonville, Fla., working out, according to Huyghue.
While the Titans have not commented publicly on Jones’ possible return, many at Baptist Sports Park regard his presence during training camp as an unnecessary distraction and media frenzy.
Huyghue said any potential sideshow would only be temporary. The apparent purpose of having Jones partake in camp perhaps is part of the goal to have him return after 10 games when his year-long suspension can be reviewed by Goodell.
“I think the first year was a bit of a distraction [because of a holdout],” Huyghue said, “But that type of thing usually dies down after the first day or so. He’s certainly not trying to come in there to be a circus act or anything like that. He just wants to coming in to practice and isn’t trying to create a distraction.”
The other potential slippery slope that Jones, the NFL and the players union could be headed down is the liability factor, if he were to suffer a serious injury in camp. Jones is not being paid while on suspension, and if he were to be injured, there is a question of how much he might be owed to settle the contract in the event of a career-threatening injury. Under different circumstances, the Titans in effect locked out former quarterback Steve McNair during the 2006 offseason because of liability concerns regarding an on-site injury while carrying a $23 million cap figure. McNair won a grievance against the team, and was eventually traded to Baltimore. The Titans would not be eager to pay off the contract of Jones in the event of a career-ending injury occurring while he is unavailable to them on the field.
Huyghue, who regards Jones’ suspension as 10 games, said it is no different than a player taking part in camp with the knowledge that he would be serving a four-game substance abuse suspension. Bengals receiver Chris Henry is suspended for eight games because of off-field problems and is being allowed to go to training camp with Cincinnati.
“Chris Henry is in the same situation,” Huyghue said. “The liability is no different than a player who is suspended for the first four games of the season for a substance abuse violation. Those players come to camp and practice, then they sit out their four games for steroids violation and come back after that.
“The contract always provides for a player’s salaries in the event they are injured. If they are injured, they can’t earn any more than they were due.”
But even that could set off legal wrangling given that Jones is currently not due any money for 2007 because of the year-long suspension.