Adam (Pacman) Jones is eager to return to the NFL and thinks the Lions would be a good team for him. But though the Lions have expressed some level of interest in the cornerback/returner, they don't seem eager to make a deal.
"I can't even put it in words how much I want to get back," Jones said. "I would just love to play football, period, but I think Detroit would be a great fit."
Lions general manager Martin Mayhew said last month that Jones has "a skill set that would help us." But Mayhew also said he would want to meet with Jones, and still no meeting has been scheduled.
After drafting cornerback Amari Spievey in the third round, the Lions likely will wait at least until after their rookie orientation before deciding whether to look into Jones further.
If Jones gets a chance to talk to Mayhew, what would he tell him?
"My whole message is, I know about my past," Jones said. "I'm not really here to talk about my past. I've made some dumb decisions in the past, but I've grown from that. I'm focused as a person. You ain't got to worry about no phone calls at 3, 4 in the morning. I'm here to play football. That's what I really would stress to him."
The Titans drafted Jones No. 6 overall in 2005 when Lions coach Jim Schwartz was their defensive coordinator. But since breaking out as an impact player in '06, Jones has played only nine NFL games because of off-field issues.
The NFL suspended Jones for the 2007 season and part of the '08 season, which he spent with the Cowboys. Jones sat out unsigned in '09.
"Coach Schwartz, he told me my last year I played for him that I played like a Pro Bowl-caliber player," Jones said. "Me and Schwartz had a good relationship. I know Schwartz got faith in my ability. It's just a matter of getting me in there and I guess sitting me down and talking to him, so I'm just waiting on the opportunity."
Jones said he sent text messages to Schwartz at least once a month. He said he sent one to him after the draft.
"I texted him and just told him that I'm still available, I like what they did in the draft," Jones said. "It was just a simple text message. And he was like, 'Thanks. Keep your head up and keep the faith.' We left it at that."
Schwartz said last month that Jones really wouldn't have a clean slate if he signed with another team, that it would be news if he got even a parking ticket. Jones said he understands that.
"It's going to be the same pressure that's on me right now," Jones said. "If I get a speeding ticket or whatever I get, it's going to be (news), with a team or without a team. That's been known. I just got to keep doing what I'm doing and make sure things like that don't happen."
Former NFL star Deion Sanders, who played with Mayhew at Florida State, has been working with Jones and has spoken to Mayhew about him. Sanders said last week he preferred the label "truth-teller" to "mentor." Jones called Sanders a father figure and said they talk on the phone almost five times a day.
"He's a straight-up person," Jones said. "He's not going to lie to you or nothing. It's been great to have him in my corner and help me look at things a lot different than I used to in the past."
Sanders pointed out that -- except for an incident with his bodyguard that triggered his '08 suspension -- Jones has been free of trouble for three years. Jones was 21 when drafted. Now he is 26 with a daughter and a fiancee who is expecting.
"I don't do the things that I used to do," Jones said. "I don't hang out with the crowd that I used to. I'm a grown man now. I have a little girl. I have a fiancee with another baby on the way. So them days are over with, the kid days. It's about my family now."
Jones has been working out with trainer Duke Rousse five days a week in New Orleans. The Lions sent vice president of pro personnel Sheldon White to watch him work out last month.
"I feel like I'm in better shape than I was when I went to Dallas," Jones said. "I wasn't in the best shape when I was in Dallas. I'm in shape like I was when I was in Tennessee, I would say, body-fit-wise. I'm back lifting weights, bench pressing, squatting, so I'm back to the basics."
Does Jones understand why teams might be afraid to give him a shot?
"Yeah, I guess, because of the media that comes with it," Jones said. "It's going to be a media thing probably for the first week. But besides that, I don't know. I know I've made some mistakes, but I'm not the only one that made some mistakes back in the league. I don't have nothing pending, no charges. I'm just praying to God that hopefully it will be sooner than later."
Linebacker Caleb Campbell reportedly will attend his second rookie minicamp with the Lions this weekend. The Lions drafted Campbell in the seventh round out Army two years ago, believing a military policy would allow him to play pro football while on active duty. But just before training camp, Campbell was ordered elsewhere. Now it looks like Campbell finally will get his shot. "I'm nervous as hell," Campbell told militarytimes.com. "It's gonna be funny ... looking out in the locker room and seeing Ndamukong Suh and these other guys." Campbell told the Web site that he has not signed a contract with the Lions but expects to "very, very soon."
Competition at Linebacker?
The Lions have an opening at outside linebacker now that they have traded Ernie Sims to Philadelphia. Defensive coordinator Gunther Cunningham has said Zack Follett, a seventh-round pick last year, could win the job. But could the Lions sign free agent Keith Bulluck, who played for coach Jim Schwartz in Tennessee? Schwartz played down the possibility by referring to Bulluck's injury situation, but didn't rule it out. "You're talking about a guy coming off an ACL," Schwartz said. "We have three guys already coming off of ACLs, and we know where they are, so it's probably not at the point where we would be doing anything right there."
Offense vs Defense: Is it fair to say the Lions' offense is ahead of their defense? "I don't know," general manager Martin Mayhew said. "I mean, I like what we've done - been able to do - over the last few weeks offensively a lot. Adding a guy like Tony Scheffler and Jahvid Best; having a young developmental tackle now. But Ndamukong Suh, he's a good player and he helps other players around him to better. So he's going to make our defense better. Just his presence alone will make that defense a much better unit I think."