Adam Jones is good at a lot of things. Playing corner. Returning punts. I'll bet, reciting Miranda Rights. He's also really good at telling us a story, his story.
It's a tale of redemption, of maturation. Adam Jones can spin a yarn that would make any TED Talk speaker envious, telling us about how Pac-man is the persona on the field, but off the field he's Adam. The deep-thinking, community-minded, cerebral fella who's learned from his mistakes and can help others from making the same ones.
He'll go anywhere, and use anyone, to tell the story. He'll be a go-to guy in front of his locker for the beat guys. He'll appear on all the shows. BengalsLine. Beyond the Stripes. Bengals Nation. He'll give time to whoever wants to help Adam tell the story of a guy who long ago turned the corner and now takes his craft seriously, or who's willing to work in mentions of Adam's newfound devotion to family while writing about how this sage-like football savant is still going strong.
The guy who earned the title of team captain.
Those are the stories.
The reality is different
An arrest in 2011. Another in 2013 for whatever happened here. One more in 2013. Then again, just a few weeks ago. Another misunderstanding. Wrong place, wrong time. Pac-er, I mean, Adam is different now, he promises. It'll all be worked out. You'll see. Really.
The reality defies the story on the field too. The time he ripped off an opponent's helmet and banged his head on it. The way he, as one of the team leaders, contributed to the playoff meltdown a year ago against the Steelers.
Ah, but that is Pac-man his alter-ego. His ring persona, if you will. Pac is a bad man. Adam's a good guy. He plays golf. Gives bikes to the less fortunate. Dotes on his kids.
And treats police officers with, of course, the "utmost respect."
The story Adam Jones tells us is a beautiful one. It's of a young, talented, guy who floated aimlessly through life, unable to make the right choices, and unwilling to surround himself with the right people. Then one day, a switch was flipped and the irresponsible youth evolved into a thoughtful, wise, introspective man who yearned to not only make right his wrongs but also deter others from following in his footsteps.
The reality of Adam Jones is different. It's one of a human parasite who's finally exhausted any goodwill and lost any remaining equity because of a disturbing, continual pattern of behavior that now includes these five words he yelled toward a police officer.
"I hope you die tomorrow."
Maybe the saddest part of this - aside from whatever misery he continues to inflict on his family - is that we wanted to buy what Adam Jones was selling. We wanted to believe. We wanted the realization, and the completion of his tale of redemption to happen on our watch. We wanted the Adam Jones Story to be non-fiction.
The only truth about the Adam Jones Story is that I'm no longer interested in hearing it.