Cowboys CB Jones expected to return Dec. 7 against Steelers

Updated: November 20, 2008, 2:05 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

ARLINGTON, Texas -- The NFL is giving Adam "Pacman" Jones another chance.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said Wednesday the suspended cornerback has been reinstated by league commissioner Roger Goodell, but he must miss two more games -- this Sunday and the following game on Thanksgiving. He'll be back Dec. 7 at Pittsburgh.

"He much appreciates the Cowboys and Jerry Jones for standing behind him and encouraging him, and he's grateful to the commissioner," said Worrick Robinson, Adam Jones' Nashville-based attorney.

Jerry Jones would not reveal any conditions the commissioner may have imposed and the league office said it would not have any immediate comment. However, Robinson, said, "He knows what he has to do. It's very clear."

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"He's a long way, a long way from having clear sailing," Jerry Jones said.

A league spokesman told ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen on Wednesday night: "When there is a final determination, we will announce it."

Adam Jones was suspended from the entire 2007 season because of multiple incidents while with the Tennessee Titans. Over the offseason, he was traded to Dallas and then given another chance by Goodell. The Cowboys gave him a security team to help keep him in line, but on Oct. 7, Jones got into an alcohol-related scuffle with one of the bodyguards during a private party at a Dallas hotel.

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Jones spent part of his time away undergoing alcohol rehabilitation.

"He has demonstrated something very important to all of us," Jerry Jones said.

It also will be up to Adam Jones to police himself. The Cowboys will no longer be providing bodyguards.

"It all starts with him and his decision-making," Robinson said. "He's comfortable making decisions for himself."

Although Jones' personal history suggests otherwise, Robinson told ESPN's Ed Werder that he believes the troubled cornerback will respond to Jerry Jones' decision not to rehire a security detail to protect the player and the Cowboys from the kind of poor judgment that has resulted in two NFL suspensions.

"There was a period of time where security was in place and it worked, but just like anything, it wasn't foolproof," said Robinson. "If the individual -- in this instance, Adam -- doesn't want to make the right decisions to protect himself and the team and the league, then the security is not going to be of any benefit anyway. Adam and I have talked about that, and he understands that very clearly and he agrees with that. He's willing to accept the responsibility of making his decisions without being influenced by a security guard."

Robinson said the alcohol therapy was "something he needed to do."

"The real issue was more than allegations of an incident at a Dallas hotel," Robinson said. "There were personal issues that, until addressed, there was a likelihood of another incident occurring."

Robinson would not reveal what determination was made regarding the extent of his client's problems as he completed an alcohol rehabilitation program in Boston before recently returning to Dallas, where Jones has been running and occasionally lifting weights to prepare for his return to the field.

"I can't go into the personal matters," Robinson said. "One day, he may want to go into that, but right now, I think he's focusing on himself, and I think he would appreciate everybody respecting his privacy in that particular line of questioning."

Robinson says that Jones will continue meetings with program administrators throughout the week before reporting to the Cowboys for practice next Monday.

"He knows he's got to be grounded before he steps on the field, and be in a good place emotionally to step into the lifestyle and attention that a football player gets," Robinson said. "In a perfect world, would he love to be on the field today? Sure, but he knows the decisions being made are in his best interests. A year ago, I don't think he would have understood that. Two years ago, he definitely wouldn't understand that. Today, he understands what this week in Dallas and what next week is about."

As for what instructions Jerry Jones has asked Adam Jones to follow, Robinson said, "I think their conversations have been focused a lot around him as an individual, not necessarily as a Cowboy. I think conversations will now turn on him being a Cowboy and focus on what he needs to do to contribute to the team."

Jerry Jones said Adam Jones can have "limited participation" this week, but would not be part of full-squad practices or conditioning. He can return to practice Monday.

Goodell suspended Adam Jones indefinitely on Oct. 14, saying he'd put a timeframe on it after the cornerback missed at least four games. This decision means it will be a six-game suspension. Because Jones also missed the entire 2007 season, by the time he returns, he will have been suspended from 22 of a possible 28 games.

A few hours before the announcement, teammates said they would welcome him back.

Tank Johnson, who has the locker next to Jones and also has been through an NFL suspension for off-field troubles, said he's spoken frequently with Adam Jones.

"He's just chomping at the bit to get back and come back and be successful," Johnson said. "He knows we're all with him and we're never going to turn our back on him and as soon as he gets back it will be business as usual. I can't wait to have 21 next to me in the locker."

Added quarterback Tony Romo: "When he was here he worked very hard and he helped us. He's a good football player and I don't see why you wouldn't welcome a guy back that works hard on the practice field."

Jones still leads the club with 11 passes defensed; nobody else had more than five. His 27 tackles are second-best among defensive backs. He also forced a fumble and recovered one.

Jones was Dallas' main punt returner, averaging 5 yards per return on 16 attempts. He had a long of only 18 yards after leading the league in punt returns in 2006. He also had an NFL-best three touchdowns on punt returns that season.

Information from ESPN reporter Ed Werder and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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