Pacman to make first TNA appearance Thursday

Updated: August 6, 2007, 8:13 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

Adam "Pacman" Jones is entering the world of men in tights wielding metal folding chairs.

The troubled Tennessee Titans cornerback, suspended from the NFL for the entire season after numerous run-ins with the law, has signed a contract with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, the company said Monday.

Jones' first in-ring appearance will be for its "iMPACT!" show on Spike TV on Thursday, TNA said. That show already has been taped, including Jones' appearance. He also will appear in a pay-per-view show Sunday at Universal Studios in Orlando, Fla.

Last week, Jones' agent said the cornerback would not actually be wrestling, but that he might participate with TNA Wrestling in other ways.

TNA spokesman Steven Godfrey said officials could not comment on whether Jones actually will wrestle.

"But he will be involved in a story line," Godfrey said.

"He wants to prove he's the best team sport athlete. You can take that for what it's worth. He's looking forward to coming in and wrestling," Total Nonstop Action Wrestling co-founder Jeff Jarrett said Monday. "He wants to concentrate on the tag-team aspect of wrestling."

Monday, Jones was quoted in USA Today as saying that wrestling is "something to do, to keep me out of the streets while I have my little off-time from my real job, and, I'm a big fan of wrestling, so I wanted to give it a try."

I really think he's a very charismatic guy. When you get to know him from our approach -- very marketable -- and you'll see when you tune into the pay-per-view on Sunday the response he will get. He's a star. He's a star.

TNA co-founder Jeff Jarrett

"I think wrestling is a great sport,'' he said, according to the report. "You don't really give [wrestling] much [credit] until you get in [the ring] and try it."

"It will help get my mind off a lot of stuff that I'm going through. It's sort of a way to relieve some stress," he was quoted as saying in USA Today.

Goodell was asked about Jones' wrestling activities when he visited the Titans' camp Saturday. Goodell said it was up to Jones to decide what's in his best interest as he tries to earn his way back onto the field.

"I've often said that it's not about what you say, it's about what you do,'' Goodell said. "It's your actions. And I think the actions will have to determine that.''

In earlier reports on Jones' potential interest in wrestling, agent Michael Huyghue said he is mindful that Jones' NFL contract prohibits non-football activities that could cause injury. He said he had talked with the Titans about Jones' plans with TNA.

"I do not have a comment," Titans coach Jeff Fisher said when asked about Jones wrestling.

Jarrett said TNA has featured appearances from Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher, 2005 World Series MVP David Eckstein, Chicago White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski and New York Yankees outfielder Johnny Damon.

But none of those athletes appeared while suspended from their day jobs.

Asked how Jones will be portrayed, Jarrett said to tune in Thursday night and the audience will dictate whether the cornerback becomes a good guy or "heel."

"I'm a third generation in this business. The wrestling business is built literally on conflict and controversy and larger-than-life personalities. I know that the media certainly knows Pacman from one side of his personality," Jarrett said.

"I really think he's a very charismatic guy. When you get to know him from our approach -- very marketable -- and you'll see when you tune into the pay-per-view on Sunday the response he will get. He's a star. He's a star."

Jarrett said he and other TNA wrestlers have been working with Jones, and he was impressed with the athletic ability of the first defensive player taken in the 2005 draft.

"I've never been in the ring with someone with more natural athletic ability," Jarrett said.

He wouldn't be the first Titan to make a TNA appearance. Titans defensive end Kyle Vanden Bosch worked the corner for retired tight end Frank Wycheck at a TNA tag team match in June in Nashville.

Vanden Bosch said after Monday's morning practice that he consulted with Titans officials about what he could and could not do in that appearance. He called wrestling a "soap opera'' for grown men and said Jones must weigh whether it's worth doing if team officials don't want him taking part.

"He has to keep continuing to take the little steps to get in good favor with his teammates and this organization,'' Vanden Bosch said. "I don't know what kind of step this is. It can be a good step. He also has to take steps to rehabilitate his image with the public.''

Titans quarterback Vince Young said he hasn't talked to Jones about wrestling and is too busy in training camp to watch.

"That's his decision. That's his choice. The Tennessee Titans, we're out here working," Young said.

Several Titans declined to talk about Jones. Tight end Ben Troupe said he would record Thursday night's show if the training camp schedule keeps him busy with meetings. He is hopeful that Jones will be careful.

"I hope it's worth it, and I hope it don't violate his contract either,'' Troupe said.

Jones was suspended for the 2007 season in April for conduct detrimental to the NFL, and he can have his case reviewed after the Titans' 10th game, which is Nov. 19 at Denver.

He has been arrested six times since being drafted by the Titans in April 2005, including June 22 when he turned himself in on two felony counts of coercion in a Las Vegas strip club fight that left a man paralyzed in a triple shooting.

Last month, the league denied Jones' bid to attend training camp.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this story.