As the Bengals approach the 2015 regular season, they're seeking to extend their franchise-record playoff streak to five straight trips to the postseason.
One constant in the previous four trips has been cornerback/returner Adam Jones. Now in his sixth season with the Bengals, Jones has played 61 of his 100 career games in Cincinnati, where his greatest NFL success has come. For much of his career in Dallas (1 year) and Tennessee (2 years), Jones was little more than a backup corner who happened to be a good returner.
With the Bengals, Jones has become a lock-down corner who can go toe-to-toe with the best players the NFL has to offer. He's also improved upon his returner skills and even was named PFF's primary kick returner in 2014 after averaging a ridiculous 31.3 yards per return. He was also named to the PFWA All-NFL Team for being arguably the best returner in football this past season.
Now set to turn 32 in September, Jones should theoretically be entering the twilight of his NFL career. But, that has not been the case in training camp thus far, as Robert Klemko of the MMQB noted:
Stopped by Cincy. Asked a defensive coach who I should be watching. "Adam Jones must've swapped bodies with a 24-year-old this offseason."— Robert Klemko (@RobertKlemko) August 9, 2015
This year's camp has been no different than in past seasons as Jones has routinely been one of the starting corners while often going head-to-head with A.J. Green. They've had some great battles in camp thus far with each getting the best of the other at times.
Jones may have 100 career games under his belt, but with only 63 starts during that time, it's safe to say Jones doesn't have the same wear and tear on his body as a typical 32-year old NFL player would have.
Or, maybe Jones' golf hobby has helped him keep his body fresh and rejuvenated in the offseason. Both Geoff Hobson at Bengals.com and Mike Farafolo of Fox Sports put out some great write-ups of Jones' golfing ventures. By their accounts, he's as fiery of a competitor on the golf course as he is on the football field.
At the same time, golf has helped Jones slow down his lifestyle and develop a finer appreciation of life's simple pleasures.
"Young Adam would never play golf. I was too hyper, too this, too that," Jones told FOX Sports after Saturday's training-camp practice at Paul Brown Stadium. "It's crazy what two, three years can do for your maturity. You have kids and a lot of things change. You can't yell in the house. Little stuff that kind of hits you."But as far as life, (golf) helps a lot. That's all I want to do is golf. I don't have time for anything else but football and golf."
Between Jones slowing down a bit off-the-field while playing at his same high level on the field, perhaps that's why the Bengals have actually talked with him about a contract extension. Maybe they see Jones being a productive NFL corner for several more seasons.
Whatever is keeping Adam fresh, hopefully, he'll keep doing it.