How many chances should an NFL player receive when it comes to off-field issues? In the case of Bengals cornerback Adam Jones, that question really has to start to be examined. On Monday, Jones was reportedly cited early in the morning for "disorderly conduct" after the driver (who apparently was his wife) of a vehicle he was riding in was arrested for a DUI.
This recent incident follows another pending legal issue, where Jones was charged with assault when he punched/slapped a woman this summer after she threw a drink in his face. In case you were wondering if that was Jones' only legal issue in his Cincinnati character-rebuild, you're wrong. He also had a scuffle in a bar back before the 2011 season when he was recovering from a neck procedure. Do we really need to go back into Jones' early NFL career to review the other woes?
It begs the question: "when is enough, enough?", doesn't it?
Perhaps the most maddening aspect of Jones' recent brush with the law is that it came right after the team won perhaps their biggest game in the Marvin Lewis era. If that doesn't rub you the wrong way, then maybe the two issues he has been involved in since signing a three-year contract will. In fact, we at Cincy Jungle have been approached about doing radio interviews this week, but they don't center around the team's big win against Green Bay--they want to ask us about Jones' recent incident, instead.
Nevertheless, the inner-Pacman revealed himself once again when he apparently got mouthy with the officer who arrested his wife for the DUI. While it's important to note that Jones wasn't arrested here, rather just cited, but it won't be helping his October 7th hearing on the prior assault charge one bit. Depending on the result of that hearing in a couple of weeks, Jones could very well be looking at a suspension.
Yes, Jones has shed many of his past entourage and hasn't had the major offenses that plagued him while he was with the Tennessee Titans and/or Dallas Cowboys. Yes, he has done positive things off of the field (speaking at the rookie symposium twice, helping incoming rookies avoid pitfalls) and on the field (defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer called Sunday's game against the Packers perhaps the best Jones has had as a Bengal). He has since gotten married, become a father and has tried to leave his past behind.
Looking at the stats of Jones, he hasn't popped off of the sheets. He has one interception since he joined the club--none since 2010--along with three forced fumbles and three recoveries. His biggest contributions are on punt returns, where he has had multiple big returns and a touchdown. Contributor, yes. Worth the piling issues? Maybe, maybe not..
One thing continues to rear its ugly head: the Pacman temper. As long as that continues to emerge, Jones could continue to put himself in compromising positions. And, those compromising positions could end up hurting the Cincinnati Bengals. Don't agree? That's fine. At the very least, he remains an easy target when he makes public appearances and will continue to be closely monitored.
There is a lot to play out with these two recent incidents, but Jones' history is beginning to repeat itself. After the Bengals made a goodwill gesture by giving him a fresh long-term deal, there have to be legitimate concerns going forward. The Bengals have tied their franchise to Jones for the next three years, for better or worse. If these issues continue to pop up causing franchise embarrassment and/or for Jones to miss time because of a suspension(s), then a decision on his future has to be made.
The Jones issue further accentuates the lack of experienced depth on the Bengals roster at cornerback, but also casts a familiar shadow from a player that was brought in before this new breed of Cincinnati players. Jones has played well in his three-plus seasons here, but how long is it before the Bengals begin to re-think or regret their decision of re-signing Jones long-term? When do the Bengals say, "enough is enough"?