Titans suspend Jones for one game following arrest
Tennessee Titans second-year cornerback Pacman Jones, whose legal problems have overshadowed his progress on the field, was suspended by coach Jeff Fisher on Wednesday for one game and will not play Sunday against Jacksonville.
Fisher strongly hinted Monday that team-administered disciplinary action was likely forthcoming after Jones was cited over the weekend for a misdemeanor assault charge. That charge stems from allegations Jones spit in the face of a female student from Tennessee State during a private party at a Nashville nightclub early last Thursday morning.
The student, Krystal Webb, 21, alleged in a police report that, during an altercation at Club Mystic, Jones became verbally abusive and "spit a huge amount of mucus on [her] face and hair." Jones is schedule to be booked Nov. 17 on the misdemeanor assault charge.
It marks the seventh time in Jones' brief tenure with the team that he has been either the subject of a police investigation or a so-called "person of interest" in a legal matter. It is his third arrest, and second in the past three months, and the second time he has been accused of spitting on a woman at a night spot. In August, he was arrested in Murfreesboro, Tenn., and charged with public drunkenness and disorderly conduct.
Jones faces a Jan. 11 court date on the Murfreesboro charges. Both incidents will likely bring him under the purview of the NFL personal conduct policy, so he could subsequently be subject to league sanctions.
The former West Virginia University star, who turned 23 in September, was the Titans' first-round choice in the 2005 draft, despite a history of off-field problems in college, and was the sixth overall player chosen that year.
Jones reported for practice Wednesday but was told by Fisher to leave the building and apprised of the suspension. Fisher announced the action after practice, saying the sanction was the result not just of the latest incident involving Jones, but also of "a continuing problem away from the field."
Fisher said Jones had anticipated some sort of action from the team, that he left the complex without incident, and was "very, very concerned about his immediate future."
"The action is not a result of our belief that he was guilty or not guilty as far as the latest incident was concerned, but rather is a result of an accumulation of poor decisions that he's made over his career here," Fisher said. "He will not be participating this week on the practice field or in the game this weekend."
Fourth-year veteran Andre Woolfolk, a first-round choice in the 2003 draft, will start at left cornerback in place of Jones.
It is believed the suspension is accompanied by a fine, but Fisher, who made the decision on Jones after consulting with owner Bud Adams, general manager Floyd Reese and chief operating officer Steve Underwood, did not elaborate on the financial considerations. Based on his 2006 salary of $842,500, Jones would lose $49,558 if he forfeits one game check. It is possible the team fined him beyond that.
Rookie quarterback Vince Young told The Associated Press that Jones doesn't go looking for trouble.
"A lot of people test him because of who he is," Young said.
Fisher said there was "significant discussion" about more punitive measures, but the team reacted in a manner appropriate with sanctions available under the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.
Asked if this is the "final straw" with Jones, who is the third Tennessee player suspended this year, Fisher said: "Again, there are a number of factors involved. You all know what I'm talking about. You're talking about the Players Association, the Management Council, [and] there are salary cap considerations. From a discipline standpoint, we're doing every single thing we can."
Defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth is serving a league-imposed five-game suspension for stomping on the head of Dallas center Andre Gurode last month. The team suspended linebacker Robert Reynolds after he pleaded guilty this week to charges involving an altercation with his estranged wife.
Jones' suspension comes in the wake of one of the best performances of his career. In last week's victory over Houston, he posted the first interception of his career and returned a punt for a touchdown. Fisher had remarked in camp about Jones' improvement in work ethic and performance and certainly, from just an athletic standpoint, he has the tools to be an excellent coverage defender. Jones is a very explosive athlete with great speed, quickness and aggressiveness.
But every time he seems to take a step forward on the field, he encounters trouble off it.
"As you all know, I can't go home with him every night," Fisher said. "He's got to make the right decisions in his life. Hopefully, he'll get on the right track and we won't have any more of these incidents. However, if there is another incident, it will be awfully telling."
Len Pasquarelli is a senior NFL writer for ESPN.com.
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