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The Pacman Chronicles

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I listened to Michael Irvin and Pacman Jones talk for three hours this afternoon. Irvin and crew did a pretty good job of asking most of the questions that needed to be asked. It wasn’t quite the cheerleading session I expected, they actually asked about all the legal incidents and even mildly pressed him on some of the subjects.

All in all, it didn’t really change my opinion of Pacman. Coming into today I wasn’t as down on Pacman as some people, although I did think he was blowing it by continually making very dumb decisions. I always thought that some of the arrests or complaints were probably misrepresented by the media and the difference between arrests and convictions is not something to be taken lightly. A lot of charges were made but they never seemed to stick. Still, he was engaging in activities that he had to know were getting him in more and more trouble and he should have recognized that he was the genesis of his own troubles. Pacman never seemed to get that. I don’t know if he has now either, I heard his words, but it’s always actions that prove intent.

So what did he say today? First we got a little Pacman history lesson about his days as a youngster and that is not something to be dismissed. It’s never an excuse, but it does add context to his story. Growing up in his world is not something I know, so I’m not going to try and analyze it. But his story is the story of many NFL players and they manage to stay out of trouble. So it can be done and it’s done often, so while the story is sympathetic; it’s not a valid excuse. Still, that was painful stuff in his past.

Getting up to date, Pacman discussed where he’s at now. He talked about being in counseling for anger management and how the thinks it’s really helping him. He mentioned that he knows this is his last chance – describing it as having his back to the cliff and one more mistake would send him over the edge. In that spirit, he says he’s had to change his entourage, leaving behind people who were his family growing up. He talked about the strip clubs and how this was some form of rebellion and then he realized he was blowing it. Sometimes it sounded sincere, other answers seemed rehearsed. I got the feeling he kind of gets it but hasn’t totally committed himself to the idea. Like he’s going to be good because he has to be good, not necessarily because he wants to. This was best illustrated when he said it was a bad decision going to a strip club the night before meeting with Roger Goodell, then simultaneously saying he had no regrets. Then he came back after the break and said he did have regret over that. And the statement at the end when he said he wouldn’t go to strip clubs for the next 3-4 years, but couldn’t say he would never go again. I appreciate the honesty but it also makes you wonder if he totally gets how he puts himself in bad positions that lead to bad consequences.

I liked the idea that he has a licensed police officer following him every where now. They should keep that up. But if he would just spend a year or two playing Madden at home and watching game film, that would go a long way towards keeping him out of trouble.

When it came to football talk Pacman wasn’t shy about proclaiming his own greatness. He claimed he was the best CB in the league, that he was good for an extra two wins in Dallas based on his ability, and was good for 4 TD’s in the return game. He said he was a risk-taker on returns, that he loves to play man-to-man on defense and that his favorite player is Deion Sanders. He’s talked to T.O. a few times and T.O. told him Dallas is a great city if he keeps his head straight and that the sky was the limit. He reiterated he wants to come to Dallas and hopes he can get here quick, that he would love to play opposite Terence Newman and could learn from T-New who has wisdom about the game.

When asked about his contract and whether he would renegotiate a new one that has insurance for the Cowboys, he answered he would, but also said he’d rather play under his current contract for the next couple of years. It was like that all afternoon, for the most part he was saying the right things, but sometimes contradicted himself with a few statements.

I came away with the feeling that Pacman Jones is a little less of a risk than what I previously thought, but is still a risk and always will be. He seems to get that he is in trouble in terms of his career and in terms of a paycheck. He’s at least listening, so he tells us, to people like his counselor and other people that supposedly have his best interests in heart. But I still didn’t get the feeling that he totally gets it. The Cowboys would still have to do a lot of baby-sitting to make sure the reward isn’t ruined by the risk.

I think this move is going to happen, that Pacman will be a Cowboy sometime soon. I have some trepidation, but I feel more like it will work out after today. That at least for a few seasons Pacman will make sure he doesn’t get into trouble. But there are no guarantees with this one.

What did you guys think?