|Titans' Jones to meet with NFL commissioner to appeal suspension|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 10 May 2007 12:44|
Jones and his attorneys were scheduled to meet with Goodell at an undisclosed location Friday in New York to appeal the length of his suspension for conduct detrimental to the NFL.
The cornerback's attorneys did not return telephone messages left by The Associated Press on their cell phones Thursday. Jones' only public comments came last month during a boxing match at a Mississippi casino and in a full-page newspaper ad.
But a letter sent to the NFL's labor relations counsel previewed their argument that at least 283 other players have been arrested or charged since January 2000 and none were suspended a season.
Jones has been arrested five times and talked to police 10 times since being drafted in 2005, but has not been convicted in any cases. A plea agreement in a public intoxication and disorderly conduct case last August could be at risk.
The latest incident involves a fight and triple shooting at a Las Vegas strip club in February during the NBA All-Star weekend. Police have recommended charges against Jones for starting the fight but are still investigating the shooting that left a man paralyzed.
Goodell also suspended Cincinnati receiver Chris Henry for eight games and gave Jones the chance to have his case reviewed after the Titans' 10th game, which is Nov. 19 at Denver. But he also warned this is the last chance to salvage his career after embarrassing the Titans and the NFL.
``In each of these respects, you have engaged in conduct detrimental to the NFL and failed to live up to the standards expected of NFL players. Taken as a whole, this conduct warrants significant sanction,'' Goodell wrote in a letter to Jones and Henry.
A decision is not expected from Goodell on Friday, but the commissioner who took over in September also has said he is determined to protect the league's integrity. Jones and Henry were the first players Goodell punished before announcing a new personal conduct policy.
Jones told the NFL Network after his initial hearing April 3 that he would accept any punishment. Suspended for a season, Jones changed his mind and announced he would appeal what he called a harsh punishment while watching a fight in Tunica, Miss.
He has not commented publicly since that night but bought a full-page newspaper ad in which he promised he would stop making poor choices.
But the Titans aren't sure they want Jones back until he cleans up his behavior off the field. They concluded their second session of minicamp this offseason Thursday with cornerback Nick Harper, signed from Indianapolis to a three-year deal in March, filling Jones' starting spot.
This was the first session open to the media this offseason. Jones' name remains on his empty locker. Harper said he has spoken with Jones and called him a good guy.
``If you sat around in the locker room just talking to him, you wouldn't know he had any problems or anything going on with him in his life. ... He told me to 'Hold it down until I get back.' He's a good guy,'' Harper said.
Jones' teammates hope the suspension is reduced so the cornerback can return early enough to help them. Jones intercepted four passes last season, and he led the NFL in punt return average thanks to three returns for touchdowns.
``You just don't replace guys like that with the things he did on special teams,'' secondary coach Chuck Cecil said. ``You've got to prepare as if he isn't going to be here ever again. So that's what we're doing. Our guys understand that, and we've got to take care of our jobs,'' he said.