CINCINNATI, OH - NOVEMBER 27: Adam Jones #24 of the Cincinnati Bengals looks to a teammate during the game agains the Cleveland Browns at Paul Brown Stadium on November 27, 2011 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Tyler Barrick/Getty Images)
Adam '"Pac-Man" Jones has been thru a lot in his career. At this point, he is lucky to still have a football career. He told his story to the newest rookies at the NFL symposium on Thursday afternoon. Jones came off as genuinely remorseful for his previous actions. Former Bengal receiver Terrell Owens also spoke at the symposium. Rookie Bengals receiver Marvin Jones explained what he saw from Jones and Owens on Thursday:
"I don't like reality TV because I wonder how true it is," Marvin Jones said. "This was more reality than TV. This wasn't glamorous. This was real people. It was real people feeling real emotions. You could feel how badly they felt about the decisions they made. It was very well done."
Adam Jones was not nervous about speaking, he is used to playing in front of 60,000 screaming fans on Sunday's:
"I wasn't nervous; not at all," he said of speaking. "You've got to remember, we play in front of 60,000 people every week. I just wanted to tell them the facts. Don't act on impulse. I told them I've been blessed with the chance to come back with a great organization with the help of guys like Marvin (head coach Lewis) and (defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer)."
Troy Vincent, a former cornerback in the NFL and current NFL Vice President, was pleased with what he saw from Jones:
"He was open, He was vulnerable. He was just raw. It was unfiltered. Now he's contributing to the National Football League."
Even Kevin Zeitler, one of the strong character guys in this years draft class, was able to learn something:
It's always good to hear the dos and don'ts and be reminded," said Zeitler. "It's helpful. I'm looking forward to hearing more about the financial stuff and the information about Medicare."
Zeitler, who was unable to speak with Jones after the symposium, would like to thank him when possible. Another strong character draft pick, Mohamed Sanu, also realizes that everyone messes up from time to time:
"You can be a good guy," Sanu said, "and still be in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Jones has certainly been at the wrong place many times throughout his career, but this time he was in the right place. Vincent believes that everyone in the room got better because of his speech:
"We got better because of him," Vincent said. "Our young men became better because of his words."
When asked which part of the speech was the most powerful, Vincent replied:
"The influencers. The people he put around him that were 'yes' people," Vincent said. "He constantly talked about hiring 'yes' people and firing people that were good for him. He was outstanding. He was as relevant as you can get to that audience," he said. "And we're not trying to say this is what the NFL is all about. Adam is not a reflection of all of it. Not many in the audience have any connection with that lifestyle, but there was a sector there that he spoke to. And resonated with."
While Sanu and other rookies are learning a lot from Jones on the field, he has certainly provided insight on how to survive off the field:
"I love to learn from him. Ask him questions about routes and technique. He's really helped me," Sanu said. "We didn't see him in the locker room (Thursday), so he wasn't joking around. He was serious. He gave a lot of insight. He was trying to make us understand that he didn't want us to do what he did."
Adam Jones said the a rookie approached him after his speech and was more than grateful:
"He wanted to thank me. He told me, 'I think you just saved my life,' " Jones recalled. "If I can help only one kid, then I'm happy."
While Jones will be in a battle to make the team this upcoming training camp, he has survived tougher battles off the field. Sharing his insight with others is a good way to stop others from making the same mistakes.