|Big day for Cowboys: Pacman's playing, TO's staying|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 02 June 2008 22:51|
On the same afternoon, the Cowboys found out that Pacman is playing and T.O. is staying.
First came the bolt from the NFL: Not only was commissioner Roger Goodell letting suspended cornerback Adam ``Pacman'' Jones join the team for workouts, Jones also was cleared to play in training camp and preseason games - everything but the regular season. The league said a decision on that will come by Sept. 1, six days before the Cowboys' opener.
Also Monday, the team agreed to a three-year contract extension with Terrell Owens that's worth around $27 million. It was confirmed to The Associated Press by a person close to negotiations who asked to remain anonymous because the deal hadn't been announced.
Tuesday might be another big day. Jones likely will join the team on the field and there might be a news conference - about Owens' deal, but obviously Pacman's partial reinstatement would be discussed, too.
Locking up Owens makes sense because he's been so productive and so happy, at least since Bill Parcells left after the 2006 season. Owens never publicly pouted about going into the final year of his initial contract with the Cowboys, and this agreement - which pays him close to what Randy Moss recently received - should keep him smiling, especially since it keeps him employed through his 38th birthday.
Owens maintained all offseason that he wasn't worried about his contract status, confident team owner Jerry Jones would take care of him.
Jerry Jones, meanwhile, has spent weeks waiting to see what Goodell would do about Pacman.
The commissioner had been indicating a July meeting would be necessary before letting Pacman go to training camp, but apparently things went pretty well when they chatted two weeks ago in Atlanta following the NFL owners meetings.
It's also possible the commissioner is counting on the Cowboys and their player development staff to keep him in check. The team helped Tank Johnson return from a similar suspension last season and has successfully dealt with other troubled players.
``Commissioner Goodell told Jones that his continued participation in the NFL depends on demonstrating that he can conduct himself in a lawful and reliable manner,'' the league wrote in a statement. ``Jones will be expected to continue the personal conduct program established for him by the NFL and the Cowboys and to avoid further adverse involvement with law enforcement.''
Jones was an elite cornerback and kick returner in his first two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, but an accumulation of arrests and legal problems, including his connection to a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club, led to his suspension without pay on April 10, 2007.
More trouble followed, including felony charges related to the strip club shooting, which left a bouncer paralyzed. Recent revelations include extortion payments made to the alleged shooter, whom Jones helped police apprehend, and a $20,000 debt repaid to a Las Vegas casino after a felony theft warrant was threatened.
All told, he's been arrested six times and has been involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention since being drafted.
The Cowboys traded draft picks for Jones in April and gave him a restructured contract that minimizes their risk. The trade includes contingency plans if Jones never plays for Dallas.
``This limited reinstatement is a step in the process,'' Jerry Jones said. ``Adam is aware of the things that need to be done in order to take the next step.''
Pacman Jones moved to Dallas recently and already has been hanging out with teammates and working out in the area. He's also started bonding with Johnson, both knowing they are down to their last chance with the NFL.
``The important thing is getting him here and getting him acclimated,'' Johnson said. ``I have told him, 'You are a good kid, we know you and we're looking forward to having you on the team and we're excited about you proving everybody wrong.'''
The Cowboys could use another good cornerback, but they're not hanging their hopes on Jones, having spent a first-round pick on Michael Jenkins. Jenkins and fellow first-rounder Felix Jones also can handle kick returns if Pacman isn't around - or even if he is.
Basically, the team isn't getting its hopes up, considering Pacman's availability a bonus.
``If (Pacman) can come out and help us here, great,'' said linebacker Bradie James, the defensive captain last season. ``But if he doesn't, we've got enough guys to make it happen.''