|'Pacman' Jones getting ready to tangle in wrestling ring|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 06 August 2007 12:50|
His latest career move was announced Monday at a new conference. The suspended Tennessee Titans cornerback, who has rarely talked to the media recently, didn't attend as promised but released a statement.
``I am a big fan of wrestling, so I wanted to give it a try,'' he said. ``I respect wrestling and I'm not coming in like it's just a show. I want to prove that I am the greatest team-sport athlete.''
Total Nonstop Action Wrestling co-founder Jeff Jarrett said Jones' daughter had arrived from Atlanta on Sunday and the player was with her.
NFL contracts prohibit non-football activities that could cause injury. Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue, said last week he had talked with the Titans about Jones' plans with TNA. The agent said Jones would not be wrestling. A response from the Titans management was not immediately available.
Jones was suspended in April for the 2007 season by NFL commissioner Roger Goodell for repeated conduct violations. He dropped his appeal of that punishment in June.
TNA announced Jones had signed his contract and was promoting Jones' appearance on its Web site. His first television appearance will be Thursday night during TNA's iMPACT! show, but the show already has been taped, including Jones' appearance.
``He's looking forward to coming in and wrestling,'' Jarrett said. ``He wants to concentrate on the tag-team aspect of wrestling.''
Jarrett said TNA has featured appearances from Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, 2005 World Series MVP David Eckstein, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon.
But none of those athletes appeared while suspended from their day jobs.
Asked how Jones will be portrayed, Jarrett said to tune in Thursday night and the audience will dictate whether the cornerback becomes a good guy or ``heel.''
``I'm a third generation in this business. The wrestling business is built literally on conflict and controversy and larger-than-life personalities. I know that the media certainly knows Pacman from one side of his personality,'' Jarrett said.
``I really think he's a very charismatic guy. When you get to know him from our approach - very marketable - and you'll see when you tune into the pay-per-view on Sunday the response he will get. He's a star. He's a star.''
Goodell was asked about Jones' wrestling activities when he visited the Titans' camp Saturday. Goodell said it was up to Jones to decide what's in his best interest as he tries to earn his way back onto the field.
``I've often said that it's not about what you say, it's about what you do,'' Goodell said. ``It's your actions. And I think the actions will have to determine that.''
Jones has been arrested six times since being drafted by the Titans in April 2005, including June 22 when he turned himself in on two felony counts of coercion in a Las Vegas strip club fight earlier this year that left a man paralyzed.
His bid to join the Titans in training camp was denied by the NFL on July 26. Jones' case will be reviewed after the Titans' 10th game, which is Nov. 19.
Jarrett said he and other TNA wrestlers have been working with Jones, and he was impressed with the athletic ability of the first defensive player taken in the 2005 draft.
``I've never been in the ring with someone with more natural athletic ability,'' Jarrett said.
He wouldn't be the first Titans player to make a TNA appearance. Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch worked the corner for retired tight end Frank Wycheck at a TNA tag team match in June in Nashville.
Vanden Bosch said after Monday's morning practice that he consulted with Titans officials about what he could and could not do in that appearance. He called wrestling a ``soap opera'' for grown men and said Jones must weigh whether it's worth doing if team officials don't want him taking part.
``He has to keep continuing to take the little steps to get in good favor with his teammates and this organization,'' Vanden Bosch said. ``I don't know what kind of step this is. It can be a good step. He also has to take steps to rehabilitate his image with the public.''
Several Titans declined to talk about Jones. Tight end Ben Troupe said he would record Thursday night's show if the training camp schedule keeps him busy with meetings. He hopes Jones will be careful.
``I hope it's worth it, and I hope it don't violate his contract either,'' Troupe said.