Cowboys have a new project

Times Staff Writer

Move over Oakland Raiders, the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s latest second-chance saloon.

From Terrell Owens to Tank Johnson and now Adam Jones -- the cornerback formerly known as Pacman -- the Cowboys have shown a willingness to sign talented but troubled players whom other teams won’t touch.

The Owens experiment seems to be working out well, and Johnson has not had problems since missing half of last season for violating the league’s conduct policy. Now, Jones is out to prove that he has changed his ways since his days with the Tennessee Titans, where he had at least 10 run-ins with authorities.

Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended Jones for the 2007 season and has yet to deem him eligible for this season, for now allowing him only to practice. Jones, who spoke to reporters Friday after the first day of training camp, said he was reasonably sure he would be reinstated.


“I’m not really worried about it,” he said. “I already got what I need to do, and that’s just stay out of trouble. If I don’t get in trouble, there’s no way you can say no.”

Cowboys Coach Wade Phillips says Jones’ situation is similar to Johnson’s last season.

"[Jones is] a smart player, a smart person who certainly had off-field problems,” he said. “But he’s a hard worker. And smart guys who work hard on the field realize they made mistakes and correct that.”

Jones says he appreciates the Cowboys’ giving him another chance to play, and was happy with his performance in his first day back, although he did work out with the team earlier this year. He broke up a pass Friday and looked good in a few one-on-one situations.


For the most part, he said all the right things. He did let his guard down a bit when asked about the differences between Dallas and Tennessee.

“I don’t mean to say anything bad about Tennessee,” he said, “but I don’t never want to go back to Tennessee.”