"I'll make a decision prior to the start of training camp," commissioner Roger Goodell said of possibly reinstating Jones, who was suspended for last season for violations of the personal-conduct policy. "I have seen some of his recent comments … and some of those comments were encouraging. I have always said he has to accept responsibility for his actions."
Jones stood outside the church doors at Word of Faith Ministries on Tuesday, passing out almost 500 boxes of food and toiletries to needy families , a church in an impoverished area on the west side of Atlanta where his aunt and uncle are members. He said the church was a perfect place to pay homage to a community that has given him the most support.
Jones teamed up with Feed the Children, a nonprofit relief organization that delivers food, medicine and clothing to the poor.
The troubled cornerback is trying clean up his image, hoping this good deed for his hometown of Atlanta will be another step toward showing he's worthy of reinstatement to the league that suspended him for numerous arrests.
During his time away from the playing field, Jones said he has learned from his actions and cut out all the "knuckle heads" in his life. He just wants the chance to atone for his mistakes, turning to his faith for guidance.
"In the Bible it says, 'Let the past be the past and move on to the future,'" Jones said. "I think for my situation, God did everything for a reason. Yes, I made a lot of bad mistakes. And I owned up to them. I want to tell the kids everything I went through, so they won't have to."
Goodell, who includes Jones' status among a plethora of topics he touched on at the owners meetings Monday, offered his most pointed comments yet on whether Jones' suspension will cross over into a second season.
Jones wants to play for the Cowboys and Dallas apparently wants to acquire him, but a source close to the negotiations has told ESPN's Ed Werder that trade talks have stalled over the issue of compensation.
A Cowboys source didn't seem to be optimistic that a deal was imminent, but told ESPN.com's John Clayton, "we're the only fish nibbling."
Jones, the Titans' suspended cornerback, may not be reinstated by the NFL before the start of training camp although if a trade happens, a source said, the commissioner might allow Jones to train at the new team's facility in order to give him a potentially good environment.
Goodell was going to allow Jones to train at the Titans facility during the offseason, but revoked that privilege when it came to his attention Jones was at a strip club at the beginning of the year.
The Titans are seeking a fourth-round pick in this year's draft and a fourth-round pick in 2009, according to the source. The Cowboys are so far unwilling to provide either, believing they are the only team pursuing Jones.
A Titans source told ESPN.com's Matt Mosley that there is a feeling within the organization that Jones cannot be reformed and should be traded even though at least one Tennessee defensive starter says players would embrace Jones' return to the team.
Jones said last week in a radio interview with Cowboys Hall of Fame receiver Michael Irvin that he wants to resume his career in Dallas. Jones intends to apply for reinstatement sometime before the April 26-27 draft.
"Dallas, they know the consequences [of a trade] and the status of the player," Goodell said Monday. "I don't feel any obligation to do more than I said, to reconsider his status. I have made no commitment."
Ed Werder covers the NFL for ESPN. Information from ESPN.com's John Clayton and The Associated Press was used in this report.