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Titans must decide about bringing back Jones

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (April 10, 2007) -- The Tennessee Titans know they won't have cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones for the upcoming season. That doesn't mean they have decided if they want him back once his suspension ends.

The talented cornerback has been a public relations problem from the moment the Titans made him the sixth overall pick and the first defensive player taken in the April 2005 draft.

Jones has alienated fans with his off-field problems -- he has talked to police 10 different times with five arrests, which doesn't include the investigation into a Las Vegas strip club fight Feb. 19 that resulted in a triple-shooting.

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced that he is suspending Jones for the 2007 season. Cincinnati's Chris Henry was also suspended for eight games, after being arrested four times in a 14-month span.

The Titans haven't yet decided what to do when Jones returns.

"Unfortunately this decision does not end our deliberations about this player for our team," owner Bud Adams said in a statement, the only comment by the team.

"We will need assurances from the player on a number of issues before we are comfortable having him return to the team. Until we see a change in behavior through his actions and until he shows the ability to avoid controversy off the field, we will move forward with the possibility that he may not return to this team."

The Titans also want to know how the suspension without pay affects Jones' contract and the team. He is under contract through 2009 with guaranteed salaries through 2008, which the team said "can be dealt with by the team in due course."

Losing Jones hurts the Titans on the field.

The 5-foot-10 cornerback is their most gifted defensive player and one of the two best return men in franchise history. Jones, who led the NFL in average punt return yardage last season, tied Billy "White Shoes" Johnson's 1975 franchise record by returning three punts for touchdowns in 2006.

Jones had four interceptions last season, including two that keyed the Titans' comeback from a 21-0, fourth-quarter deficit against the New York Giants on Nov. 26. They won in overtime, 24-21.

Jones had the best return day in the NFL last season on Dec. 31 when he combined for 259 punt and kickoff return yards, including an 81-yard punt return for a touchdown. That ranked as the ninth-highest combined return total in the league over the past 10 years.

His attorney, Manny Arora, declined to comment. Jones' mother, Deborah said: "I just pray that this can be changed. This is not fair for him. It's just not fair."

For now, the NFL and the Titans are keeping a tight watch on Jones, and he must avoid what the league called "adverse involvement" with police.

If he behaves himself and sticks strictly to conditions set for him to follow, the NFL will review his status after 10 games. But Jones still has a felony charge of obstruction of a police officer pending in Fayetteville, Ga., from February 2006. That case has been delayed until at least May 14.

And any charges in the Las Vegas case would also be counted against him.

Las Vegas police want to charge Jones with one count of felony coercion and misdemeanors of battery and threat. But a prosecutor last week asked police to investigate further before charges are filed.

Jones won't be allowed to practice. He will be required to visit the team once a week starting June 1 when he can spend one day a week at the team's building. He also must develop a plan of community service for league officials to approve.

The Titans have been preparing for the possibility of not having Jones. They signed veteran cornerback Nick Harper to a three-year deal last month and are expected to draft at least one more.

Now they are pressuring Jones to prove he deserves to return.

"We feel that the future for Jones rests with him, his ability to meet the standards required by the League and the team, and his effort to earn back trust from the organization, teammates, the NFL and the fans," the team statement said.

"Only if he meets these guidelines will he be allowed to return to the team."

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