With tears welling in his eyes and a slight shake in his voice, Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones got emotional Thursday afternoon while talking about what it means to have the support of team owner and president Mike Brown in wake of his Jan. 3 arrest and the recently imposed one-game suspension from the NFL.
“The respect and the love that I have for Mr. Brown is undeniable,” Jones said as players met with the media for the first time since reporting for the start of training camp Friday afternoon.
“Words can’t express the gratitude of how I feel about him,” Jones added. “When you have a guy upstairs that stands up for you, that sticks up for the players, I haven’t been around a guy like that in my lifetime.”
It was Jones’ first interview since the NFL disciplined him July 21. He said he accepts the one-game suspension and takes responsibility for his actions that led to it.
“I take all accountability for what I did and my actions and my words,” Jones said. “I accept it, the one game suspension, and I’m ready to move on, man. I’m happy to be here, happy to be a part of the 50th season here and I think it’s going to be special.”
Jones admitted he “slacked” on his conditioning last year, which is why he spent most of the six-week summer break working out with team strength coach Chip Morton. Jones said he feels about as fit as he ever has heading into a season, and he thinks he has another four years in him.
Jones, who will turn 34 in September, is signed through the 2018 season after agreeing to a three-year, $22 million contract in March 2016.
After answering a wide range of questions about his health and the team outlook during an eight-minute interview, the topic circled back to Brown and the words of support he offered Tuesday at the pre-camp luncheon, when the owner said:
“Adam Jones is a good person if you know him. I like him personally. I admire his energy. I admire his courage. I admire a lot of things about him. He didn’t come up the easy way, believe me. If any of us had come up that way, I wonder where we’d be.
“Anyway, he has misstepped from time to time, and he did so recently and everybody knows it in spades. He got drunk publicly and made an ass of himself. He embarrassed himself. He embarrassed the club, embarrassed the league and embarrassed his family. Nobody knows it more than him. He has paid a dear price, both in the judicial system — he went to jail for a couple of days — and at the league level. Most of all he has suffered in the court of public opinion. It’s been a real slap in the face for him.
“I think he can overcome this. If I’m wrong, I’ll take the responsibility for it and that will be the end of it. But I’m going to give him the chance.”
Asked what it means to have the man at the top of the organization in his corner, Jones got emotional again.
“I’m just deep from my heart that I have somebody that understands me as a person and is not quick to judge,” he said as more tears formed in his eyes. At that point, seemingly knowing he wouldn’t be able to hold them back, he said “that’s it,” and walked away.