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Bengals CB Adam Jones Is On The Stump

On the eve of next week's start of the NFL free agent signing period, the suddenly talkative Jones is hyping the best product he knows -- himself.

With a week to go before the start of the NFL free agent signing period, teams have a pretty good idea who on the market they are interested in and how much they're willing to spend. But, just in case, the Bengals' Adam Jones is on the stump.

Jones, the talented cornerback slash return specialist, has added another bit to his varied act -- that of pitchman.

Hey, it's an election year.

Engaging in a little gamesmanship on the eve of the signing period, the suddenly talkative Jones has started hyping the best product he knows -- himself -- while pointing out that certain teams should be considering his services, such as Miami. The Dolphins hired defensive coordinator Vance Joseph away from the Bengals where Joseph was assistant defensive backs coach for two years.

"I would think V.J. would be interested," Jones told FOX Sports. "He's taught me a lot, and he knows I know everything in the system. He knows I'm a football guy. If I'm a betting man, I would think he'd try to bring me in there."

Jones always knows what's best. Take the last two minutes of the playoff debacle against the Steelers, for example. Unfortunately, for him, he has no say in his future destination, which could be right here. Cincinnati was unable to reach an agreement with Jones on a contract extension last season, but he's said publicly that he has not closed the door on a return to the Bengals. Cincinnati director of player personnel Duke Tobin said at the NFL Scouting Combine that the Bengals are interested in keeping Jones, whom they rightly value for his elite skills.

Jones was part of the star-crossed group in the final minutes of the Bengals' Wild Card loss to Pittsburgh, along with fellow penalized linebacker Vontaze Burfict and running back Jeremy Hill (fumble). Jones was penalized while taking exception to Steelers coach Joey Porter being on the field. Burfict was flagged for unnecessary roughness following a hit on Pittsburgh wide receiver Antonio Brown. Bengals defensive coordinator Paul Guenther has suggested that Jones' penalty was worse.

That hasn't stopped Jones from suggesting that it's not outside the realm of possibility that he could play for Pittsburgh. In reality, he wants to go to the highest bidder. He'll probably command a handsome payday, as cornerbacks have received rich deals of late and Jones is one of the more effective and versatile corners in a thin crop of free agents.

"I think I'm just now really getting into my prime," Jones told FOX Sports. "You take a look at my career, I played three years of football, two in Tennessee, one in Dallas. All of that was on natural ability. I know it seems like I've been around a long time, but my body hasn't gotten to play that much football, just because of circumstances of where I was at."

Jones was alluding to missed time due to suspensions following arrests. He said the passion's still there, something that has long been evident in his game, which has risen to a new level as he's zoomed past the age of 30. He turns 33 on Sept. 30. He earned his first Pro Bowl appearance this year. He's outlived his father, who was killed in a robbery in 1991 at the age of 26.

"There's nothing in the world I love doing more than playing football, besides being with my wife and kids," Jones said. And we can believe that. Maybe his head will soon follow his heart.

Jones made a commitment to becoming a better football player, and it's paid off in his later years. If he can commit to being a smarter player in all game situations on a more consistent basis while not losing the edge to his aggressive style, somebody is going to get a heckuva cornerback for the next two or three years.

Drafted sixth overall by the Titans in the 2005 NFL Draft, Jones was suspended from the league for the entire 2007 season and for part of the 2008 season for off-field conduct while facing felony charges in two states. He was reinstated, got in trouble again, and was suspended once more. He's had public skirmishes in Cincinnati, but they have become fewer and far between of late.

Miami makes sense as a future home for Jones, should he leave Cincinnati. Joseph took an interest in Jones during his stay with the Bengals, and played a role in Jones' improvement in game preparation. Jones has given Joseph credit for that. Other teams that could be interested in Jones, with previous connections to him in Cincinnati, are Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Cleveland. Published reports have linked Jones to the Cowboys and Raiders.


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