Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman”Jones talks with wide receiver Andrew Hawkins (16) during NFL football practice in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Al Behrman, File)
by Amanda Lee Myers
CINCINNATI (AP) — Bengals cornerback Adam “Pacman” Jones pleaded not guilty Tuesday to an assault charge after police say he hit a woman at a nightclub last week, the latest in a string of legal troubles he’s had.
An attorney for Jones, 29, entered the plea a day after he was arrested and then released on his own recognizance. He attended the start of the Bengals’ training camp Tuesday and worked out with the team in the afternoon, but declined to comment.
Jones is accused of hitting a 34-year-old woman at a downtown Cincinnati nightclub Wednesday shortly before midnight. A police report lists the injury as apparently minor. Jones’ attorney, Edward Perry, declined to comment.
“The situation Adam Jones is in obviously is not something you want to get involved in,” coach Marvin Lewis said. “It’s unfortunate that he’s in this situation. That’s really about all I can add to it.”
Surveillance video of altercation, obtained by a local radio station and verified as authentic by Cincinnati police, appears to show Jones approaching two seated women outside the club. Then, a third woman approaches Jones and appears to confront him. The grainy video shows the woman reach toward Jones’ face but it’s unclear what she does or whether she’s holding anything in her hand.
Jones then appears to hit the woman, who falls to the ground but quickly gets up and follows Jones off-camera as another man with him ushers him away.
The woman in the video, identified by police as 34-year-old Shannon Wesley, did not return a call for comment.
Jones could be punished by the National Football League under its conduct policy. Spokesman Greg Aiello said the league would review the latest arrest when appropriate.
Jones wasn’t suspended for an arrest in July 2011, when he was accused of being disorderly, shouting profanities and trying to pull away as officers arrested him at a bar in downtown Cincinnati.
As part of an agreement to settle that case, he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of disorderly conduct in Hamilton County Municipal Court and was sentenced to one year of probation and 50 hours of community service. He’d stayed out of trouble until his latest arrest.
Last year, he was ordered to pay $11 million in damages to two Las Vegas strip club employees injured in 2007 when a gunman claiming he was doing Jones’ bidding opened fire outside the club after Jones and his entourage were kicked out. A club manager was paralyzed from the waist down and a bouncer was wounded.
Jones said he had no role in the shooting and pleaded an equivalent of no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct. The gunman, Arvin Kenti Edwards, is serving four to 10 years in prison.
Jones got into a lot of trouble early in his career. The cornerback was the sixth overall pick in 2005 but repeatedly had off-field issues with Tennessee, resulting in suspensions. He missed the entire 2007 season on suspension and sat out the 2009 season when no team was interested. The Bengals gave him another chance and he has taken advantage of it, developing into their third cornerback and punt returner.
Instead of being a distraction, he’s blended into one of the league’s top defenses. Cincinnati finished sixth last season in yards allowed. He’s also become close to some of the other defensive players.
“I didn’t know much about him before, but he’s been one of my best friends since a little while after he got here,” cornerback Leon Hall said. “We kind of meshed. We live not too far from each other. We don’t have the same personality, but we’ve clicked pretty well. He’s been a pleasure for me ever since he came out here.”