Bengals cornerback Adam Jones was an obvious choice to address incoming NFL rookies about how to avoid off-field problems that could cost them their careers. He almost lost everything after stints with the Titans and Cowboys thanks to multiple arrests. After a year away from football, the Bengals took a chance on him and, for the most part, he cleaned up his act.
Among the rookies who took Jones' message seriously was Jets rookie quarterback and fellow West Virginia Mountaineer Geno Smith.
"Adam, he's a West Virginia guy so I've had many conversations with him," Jets rookie quarterback Geno Smith said. "He's always been a guy who preached don't make the same mistakes he's done. He's made a lot of mistakes in his career, but he's still standing strong and working hard.
"He's using his past trials and tribulations to help us as rookies. You can see how those decisions will affect him. It will affect all of us if we follow down that same path. It does resonate more because he's a guy who had a tremendous amount of talent and high expectations, but he let some bad decisions affect him on and off the field."
Jones wasn't the only guy to give a "don't do as I did" speech. Former Boston Celtics guard Chris Herren, who had seven drug-related felonies on his record by 2011, also addressed the rookies. He made quite the impression on Browns rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo.
"He was a guy that lost a lot," Browns linebacker Barkevious Mingo said. "Nearly lost his family for the choice that he made. And he was sitting in the same seat that we were saying that it wasn't going to be him. He was a guy that didn't listen, so I guess he kind of challenged everybody that was in the room. I looked around and everybody was paying attention to what he had to say because it was real.
"Everybody thinks (it won't happen to me). ‘I'm not going to do this, I'm not going to do that.' But he kind of made you realize it can happen to you if you choose the wrong decisions. For him, it was a $20 pill, he said that just damaged his life tremendously. He went from that pill to a different drug and it was just events that doomed his life, but he's recovered from that and he's better for that."
It's unclear what will come of Jones' most recent charge filed after an incident with a woman outside a bar in Cincinnati, but it's good that he can address the league's incoming rookies hoping to prevent them from going down the same road he did.
Jones was one of the league's best third cornerbacks in 2012 and signed a three-year deal worth $5.35 million this offseason.