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Adam Jones opens up on Dan Le Batard Show

There's no doubt in Adam Jones' mind that Marvin Lewis helped save his NFL career and even his life.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Adam Jones' NFL story is one of failure, perseverance and turning it all around to overcome the odds.

Failure came when Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 NFL season for multiple arrests and infractions committed over his first two seasons in the NFL, the biggest of which was being involved in a nightclub shooting that left one man paralyzed. He was also arrested and charged with felony vandalism after an altercation at a nightclub in July 2005.

Meanwhile, Jones was struggling to find a role on defense as he was an electric kickoff and punt returner. He failed to so with the Titans and then Cowboys after Tennessee shipped him to Dallas for a fourth-round draft pick. Jones was cut by the Cowboys in 2009 and was out of football that year.

That's when the perseverance kicked in as Jones worked his way back enough that the Bengals and head coach Marvin Lewis took a chance on him for the 2010 season. Though Jones ended the year on I.R. with a neck injury, he showed flashes of that same dynamic returner while also being a capable cornerback in Mike Zimmer's defense.

That's where the reclamation comes in as Jones begins developing into a stud cornerback that Cincinnati begins putting on opponent's best receivers while more than holding his own. Jones has become the No. 1 corner and a leader for a Bengals' defense that has helped spark Cincinnati's 4-0 start this season.

None of this would have happened without a call from Lewis in 2010 to give Jones a tryout with the Bengals. Jones talked about that call and how it helped change his life while on ESPN's Dan Le Batard Show on Wednesday.

"The best way to describe is if you're stuck in the hole and you don't have no one but God," Jones said. "And everyone has turned their back on you, and you look up and it's light up at the tunnel, but where you're standing at it's dark, dark as hell. You gotta be strong man to come out of those kind of situations and trust in yourself and believe in God and do all the right things to try and get back."

There's no doubt in Jones' mind that Lewis "literally" helped save his life by making that call and giving him what was likely his final opportunity to play pro football.

"When Marv called me and gave me the information and told me he was going to bring me in and work him out, I think that opened up another light in my life and showed me, 'Hey, this is your last chance and you gotta take advantage of it,'" Jones said.

After the way Jones' career went in his first six seasons, he never would have thought that he'd be playing this well into his 30s and 11 years into his career.

"Me and my agent had this talk the other day," Jones said. "He's like, 'Who would have said you'd still be in the league at 32 years old?' My body still feels good with all the ups and downs that I've been through.Thank God I got to sit out for three years and my body is still up and running and it feels good. I always said to myself that I'm going to get the last laugh out of this. I just try to work extremely hard, keep my head down and let everything else take care of itself."

Jones also admitted the nickname Pacman was something he preferred to not be called, given it was his name during his troubled days with the Titans and Cowboys, though it was his mom that originally gave him that name.

"It's hard to keep my family and mom from calling me that," Jones said. "But at the stadium, pretty much everyone calls me Adam. Every now and then on Sunday, the fans will call me Pacman. Besides that, I'm Adam to everybody, but I can't change my mom because she gave me that name."

Jones' journey is nothing short of miraculous, and it's great to seem him telling it in hopes of helping others avoid his mistakes while showing those who do that they can still turn their life around.