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Pacman's Titans debut delayed another week

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Aug. 16, 2005) -- Tennessee's top draft pick, Adam "Pacman" Jones, didn't sign a deal or practice, and coach Jeff Fisher said that means the cornerback won't be going to Atlanta for the Titans' next preseason game.

Jones really wanted to play Aug. 19 against the Falcons because Atlanta is his hometown. Both sides had been close enough in talks Aug. 15 that they had hoped Jones could practice the next afternoon.

But Jones' agent, Michael Huyghue, had to fly from Jacksonville, Fla., to Nashville on trying to work out the last pieces of a five-year contract.

"It's not like anybody's upstairs inking a contract right now," Fisher said.

Fisher knew how much Jones wanted to play against Atlanta after talking with him Aug. 15, but the coach made it clear the cornerback had to be on the field the next day when the team worked out in full pads to make the trip.

"He's not here. He's not going to Atlanta. We'll hope he's here on the practice field and does enough work so he can go to San Francisco," Fisher said of their third preseason game Aug. 26.

If a deal is signed that allows Jones to practice Aug. 17, Fisher said they will be too busy preparing for the Falcons to do more than let Jones catch some punts and practice.

That won't have enough time for Fisher to feel comfortable letting him play on such short notice. If Jones wants to be at the game, he'll have to tap another option.

"That's the beauty of 'Will Call' now. You can put tickets at 'Will Call'. That's not a problem," Fisher said.

Jones' holdout started July 29 when camp opened, and he has missed 27 practices and one preseason game.

The Titans selected the cornerback out of West Virginia for his speed and return skills on kickoffs and punts. They hope he can fill one of two cornerback slots left open by salary-cap decisions.

The 5-foot-10, 185-pound Jones won the Titans over with speed timed at 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash and his leaping ability in predraft workouts. He recorded a 39-inch vertical leap before the draft.

Even with so much time missed, Fisher said he isn't counting Jones out of the chance to start the season at cornerback Sept. 11 at Pittsburgh. Jones' chances of being a starter diminish with each passing day he isn't in camp.

"I'm not necessarily blaming him," Fisher said. "This is just the way things are. This is the way they're going to be. He understands that."

This is the longest holdout by a draft pick for this franchise since relocating to Tennessee in 1997. Jones, who was the sixth pick overall and the top defensive player taken in the draft, was the franchise's highest draft pick since Steve McNair was chosen third overall in 1995.

The Associated Press News Service

Copyright 2005, The Associated Press, All Rights Reserved

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