In terms of an off-field reputation, Adam Jones has seen better days. When headlines began flashing around the country that Jones was involved in an altercation that led to his arrest this June, Bengals fans presumably fought a collective cringe at the thought of a Bengals player, let alone Adam Jones, running into legal trouble this offseason. Jones was nearly two years removed from an incident at a local Cincinnati bar where he was ultimately charged with disorderly conduct and resisting arrest and, for the most part, Jones has stayed relatively quiet during his time with the Bengals.
While Jones' latest incident is still being investigated, it didn't help matters that Jones was set to address rookies at the NFL Rookie Symposium. Much like he did last season, Jones was tasked with delivering a message to the NFL's newest players. His message, according to NFL.com, was apparently "more powerful" as a result of his recent assault charges.
"I can't control what people say, or what people's opinion is," Jones said. "But who are you to judge or say how I've grown or what I've done. ... I'm just gonna keep doing what I'm doing, being a great father and doing good in the community and keep my head straight and keep doing like I've been doing."
Jones felt that his current legal battle is something that he absolutely wanted to address to the rookies in attendance. He believes that simply avoiding the topic would take away some credibility in his message, and his speech to the NFL's youngest stars needed to be honest and blunt or, as Jones puts it, "keeping it real."
"Guys tend to run away when they feel pressure," he said. "I had the chance to run away ... I refuse to do that because the guys need to know really what is happening out there. Not what you want to hear, not the cut message. It needs to be really uncut so guys can know what guys are going through and what situations they need to stay away from."
Jones was undeniably in the wrong place at the wrong time on June 10th and his decision-making will be at the mercy of both the courts and the NFL, but there's also no denying that Jones made a bold decision in laying out his faults to the rookies of 2013. Regardless of how Jones' legal circumstances play out, there's hope that young players continue to learn from the past mistakes of others and, hopefully, Jones continues to learn from his own.