No Canada: CFL team changes mind, won't sign Pacman Jones
Controversial cornerback Adam Jones is back on the open market.
Two days after Jones and the Winnipeg Blue Bombers agreed in principle on a one-year deal with an option, the Canadian Football League team released a statement Wednesday night saying it was no longer interested in the troubled player.
"It's unfortunate that this situation became public," Blue Bombers rookie head coach Mike Kelly said. "However our position has remained consistent: We will pursue athletes that we believe will contribute to our organization on and off the field. We have completed our assessment and due diligence and, at this time, we will not be pursuing the services of Adam Jones."
Two nights earlier, Winnipeg director of player personnel John Murphy told SI.com he was excited about reaching a verbal agreement with Jones. He acknowledged Jones' troubled past, which included an investigation into his role in a shooting outside a Las Vegas strip club, but said: "At the end of the day, I'd rather be standing there saying I gave a young guy an opportunity to right himself than to have written him off. Because who am I to do that? Who gave me that power to judge?"
Jones' co-agent, Jason Fletcher, said he learned of the Blue Bombers' flip-flop from a story on the Internet. He said team officials did not return his calls.
According to Fletcher, Jones was supposed to fly to Winnipeg on Thursday, after being granted a passport, sign his contract and meet with the media.
"My client and I are disappointed because, I believe, a door was closed for the wrong reason," Fletcher said last night. " What has taken place -- and I've seen it from far and near in this business -- is that people are passing judgment like they're better than the next person because someone has made mistakes that they feel they never would have made.
"We exchanged several contract proposals with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, and I feel this opportunity won't materialize because of the media frenzy that took place. It was nothing that I did wrong or my client did wrong. The media was not as friendly as the team thought they would be. A lot of people were just attacking the situation and attacking Adam and his past; that's why I believe they reneged on their offer."
Murphy did not return calls seeking comment.
Jones started his NFL career with Tennessee, which drafted him sixth overall in 2005. He showed great promise in his second season, but was suspended for the 2007 season for multiple violations of the league's personal-conduct policy.
He has not been in any legal trouble since 2007 and, according to the NFL, is free to sign with any of its 32 team.
"It's going to take someone that's strong and secure in their position to give Adam the legitimate opportunity that he deserves -- very similar to the second opportunity Michael Vick received with the Eagles," Fletcher said.