According to Joe Reedy, who attended the practice, Pacman Jones looked good in his first OTA as a member of the Bengals. Reedy reported that he had, “a couple nice pass break-ups” during the session. In case you are wondering, he wore jersey number 24.
He did not take questions from the media, but did issue the following statement (check out video on Bengals.com here):
“First of all, I want to thank God for putting me in this situation. I want to thank the fans, the media for y’all attention today. I think I still have the skill set that I’ve had that made me a high draft choice.
“I know I have a ton, ton of work to do. It would be a dream come true to come in and help the Bengals in any way I can, also help win a championship. Like I said, I know I have a ton of work to do. To gain you guys’ trust is not going to come overnight, it’s going to take time. So all I can do is take it one day at a time, focus in on the things I’ve been focusing on, and come play football, man.
“Like I said, I’m happy to be here. I want to thank the city of Cincinnati for giving me and my family a fresh start. I want to thank the guys upstairs, Mr. Brown, I want to thank coach (Marvin Lewis), I want to thank coach (Mike) Zimmer, I want to thank the whole organization. I’m happy to be here and I look forward to talking to you all real soon”
Like him or not, whether you think it was staged and coerced or not, he said all the right things. Marvin Lewis acknowledged that signing Pacman was a risk, but one he (and the organization) are willing to take:
“So we made a decision to do it. We know the downside of it, but I trust he will resurrect his career with this opportunity and get himself going and have an opportunity to be a productive player here or somewhere else.”
Coach Lewis then proceeded to make two points that I had mentioned the other day :
I said: “There is a precedent.”
Lewis said: “We heard the same thing with Cedric. We heard the same thing with Larry Johnson,” and things worked out. They made the turn and I think in this guy’s case the same thing is imminent. I’m excited about that for him.”
I said: “Pacman may not even make the roster.”
Lewis said: “I don’t know that he’ll make this football team. But he’ll get a good shot at it. The only way to do it is to put him on the team right now and see.”
Thus, in summation, the team has brought in a hungry, motivated, and humbled young man ready to redeem himself. A young man that was a first round pick and who has signed for the veteran minimum. He is guaranteed nothing from the team except for what he earns. In short: A very smart investment.
All that’s left is for Pacman to prove himself on the field. Should be fun to watch.