WINNIPEG — The Adam Pacman Jones ‘era’ in Winnipeg is over before the NFL bad boy ever pulled on a Blue Bomber jersey or crossed the border into Canada.
The Bombers issued a press release at 7:30 Wednesday night indicating they will no longer be pursuing the services of the talented, but troubled defensive back/kick returner, a former first-round draft pick who was most-recently released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Bomber head coach Mike Kelly just addressed the media at the club’s offices, stating:
"After deliberating and further investigating, we feel at this time it is not in the best interest of our football club to pursue Adam Jones and I wish him all the luck in his future endeavours," said Kelly.
"This has nothing to do with his ability to get across the border. It was instigated by me and then after having further discussions with (Bomber president and CEO) Lyle (Bauer) I just didn’t feel it was in the best interest of our football club to include Adam Jones."
The Bombers have spent much of the last few days dealing with the Jones story, ever since director of player personnel John Murphy indicated the team’s interest in Jones to an on-line reporter for Sports Illustrated. But the club kept insisting Jones had not signed even as the story grew. Ultimately, the team backed away partly because of concerns of how he would fit into their locker room.
"We feel very good about the culture and the atmosphere that we’ve created here and I have the utmost respect for our players," said Kelly. "I just don’t feel like it would behove us to continue this route.
"Here’s what’s unfortunate: people in our organization and outside our organization jumped the gun. When I stood there and said we would do our due diligence - and we look at a lot of football players and pursue a lot of football players – and then we want to find out about the rest of the package above and beyond the physical tools. When all this broke, our due diligence was not complete at that time. Information was released and presumptions made that were inappropriate at that time."
The CFL has long been considered a place for outlaw football players to earn a second chance. Here are some big-name bad boys who made the CFL home after the NFL shut them down.
- Ricky Williams -- Suspended by the NFL for violating the league's drug policy, the running back signed with the Toronto Argonauts. Williams got his game and life back in order in Canada and is now back with the Miami Dolphins.
- Lawrence Phillips -- The Heisman Trophy candidate ran into trouble with the law in the U.S. and after washing out of the NFL, came to the Montreal Alouettes. The experiment was short-lived and Phillips was sent packing. He's now serving a 10-year prison sentence in the U.S.
- Mike Sellers -- The bruising fullback, now with the Washington Redskins, came to the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after a drug arrest cooled interest in the NFL. Sellers stayed clean in Winnipeg and is now enjoying a fine NFL career.
- Dexter Manley -- Won a pair of Super Bowls with the Washington Redskins and was a Pro Bowler before failing his third drug test. Left the NFL for the CFL and signed with the Ottawa Rough Riders in the 1993 and 1994 seasons. Was arrested for cocaine possession in 1995 and served a prison sentence.
- Todd Marinovich -- Drug use pushed Marinovich out of the NFL and into the CFL twice. The former USC star tried out for the Bombers but blew out in his knee and claims he was introduced to heroin during his recovery from that injury. A second stint in the NFL ended with more drug problems and in 1999 Marinovich joined the B.C. Lions, but his increased crack and heroin abuse ended that comeback attempt quickly.
- Art Schlichter ---- Was banished from the NFL for gambling on games and then joined the Ottawa Rough Riders for a short stint, but was released in mid-season. Has been in and out of jail but has been clean for several years and is the founder of the Gambling Prevention Awareness non-profit organization.