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Saturday Morning Quarterback
Feb 27, 2007 12:00 am
I wanted to believe Pacman Jones when he recently told a judge he would not see the inside of a courtroom anymore, wanted to believe him when the Titans cornerback said he would watch where he went and who he associated with.
That all went 'Poof!' with what apparently went down in Las Vegas in the wee hours Monday.
After a rookie season and offseason in which Jones' name appeared in police reports as often as NFL scouting reports soured many Titans fans, he seemed to be winning them back over during his sophomore season.
But his connection with an early-morning fracas and shooting outside a Vegas strip joint immediately following the NBA All-Star weekend has quickly unraveled any good will he may have rebuilt with the fans.
According to his lawyer, Jones was in the wrong place at the wrong time and that police weren't even considering him as a suspect. But the nightclub owner said it was Pac's posse which ignited the trouble that saw several people get shot, including one who is reportedly paralyzed for life.
Somebody ain't telling the truth here and I suspect, based on past history, it's the lawyer.
But regardless of whether he's guilty in the eyes of the law, Jones is living on borrowed time as far as many Titans' fans are concerned. They're tired of seeing a player who represents their city and state constantly acting like a street thug.
Pac and his apologists will come back and say it's because of his poor upbringing in Atlanta where he didn't have a steadying influence at home.
Bull! It's an insult to those who live in identical circumstances who do know right from wrong and do their best to live that way. And they weren't blessed with the God-given physical ability to earn millions of dollars playing football, which also takes away the so-called poverty factor as an excuse to break the law.
Pacman has every incentive – millions of them – to straighten up his act off the field.
It's a shame, too. Because outside of Vince Young, Pacman was as big a reason as any for the Titans' revival last fall to 8-8. Every return of a punt, kick or interception for a touchdown wiped away each accusation of spitting, public intoxication and disorderly conduct. He's fun to watch on the field and he helped get people excited about the Titans again.
But just as people go to Sin City to gamble their money away in the casinos, Pacman gambled and lost any good will with the fans outside the strip joint. He may have wagered away his big paychecks as well.
The Titans have given Pacman every chance. But regardless of what really happened in Vegas, he, at the least, showed poor judgement. Where there's smoke, there's fire; and the fire alarm has sounded too many times. If it looks like a duck, acts like a duck... he's quacking more than Aflac. You lay down with dogs, you get up with fleas, and Pac has more than a Hartz collar can handle.
You can admire Jeff Fisher for sticking with Pacman as a person, even if the reasons are obviously self-serving. But at this point, the Titans are only enabling him and hurting the organization by keeping him. He may need to hit rock bottom before he can be helped and as long as he keeps cashing bigger paychecks every two weeks than I'll ever see, he'll have no reason to change.
Pac-Man was once a popular video game which became obsolete with the invention of newer, better technology. It's now a relic of the '80s.
Pacman Jones can change the course of a football game with a quick shift of direction. But his refusal to alter his ways off the field should be enough reason for the Titans to leave him in their past.
Sports Editor Andy Reed can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 17 or by e-mail at email@example.com.