Adam "Pacman" Jones loves Cowboys owner Jerry Jones but not his team, which let him go after one season that was disappointing all-around and became a turning point for his troubled career.
The 29-year-old cornerback has revived his career with Cincinnati, earning a regular role on defense and special teams. The Bengals (7-5) have won four in a row heading into their game against the Cowboys (6-6) on Sunday at Paul Brown Stadium.
It'll be Jones' first time playing against the Cowboys since they released him following a 2008 season that included a six-game suspension for getting into an alcohol-related scuffle with a bodyguard provided by the team.
"I have nothing against them," said Jones, who is friends with cornerback Mike Jenkins. "I have no love for the Cowboys. I have all the love for the Bengals."
Jones was suspended repeatedly during his first three seasons in the league with Tennessee, a team that eventually gave up on him, as well. The Cowboys took a chance, trading a fourth-round pick to get him before the 2008 season.
Jones played in nine games for the Cowboys, starting six, but didn't snare an interception. He returned 21 punts but averaged only 4.5 yards. He got into the scuffle that drew another suspension and ended his stay in Dallas.
The Cowboys waived him on Feb. 9, 2009, and he was out of the league for a year before Cincinnati brought him aboard for the 2010 season. Jones has settled down and turned into a mainstay on defense, on the field for at least 70 percent of the plays during Cincinnati's four wins.
Jones also is third in the NFL with an average of 15.3 yards per punt return. He ran one back 81 yards for a touchdown against Cleveland.
"I'm happy that the Bengals did me right," Jones said. "A little time, a little confidence and the opportunity. They've been patient with me through the ups and downs. Now that I get the time, I'm getting a lot of confidence."
Coach Marvin Lewis said Jones has been receptive to coaching and putting in the time to become better.
"He is under foot daily, in both defense and special teams, and that's helpful," Lewis said. "Anybody who is worth his salt and wants to be a great player in the NFL needs to be coached and wants to be coached. I think that is the step that he has really warmed to over his time here with us."
Lewis said Jones "was longing for that, he needed that" when he signed with Cincinnati, which has expanded his role as he has grown.
"We're really getting into the inner guy that's got so much ability and talent," Lewis said.
Jones didn't want to rehash his time in Dallas, although he said he's so eager for the game that he probably won't sleep on Saturday night.
"I just want to win," he said. "Whatever we need to do to win the game, we must do it. I don't have any bad blood over there, but I don't care about them."
He said he's still fond of their owner.
"I love Jerry with all my heart," he said. "I'm not going to get into what I don't like about them, but it's not about Jerry. He's done a lot for me."
Jones said it's a different feeling than he has for Tennessee, where he was close to coach Jeff Fisher.
"In Dallas, a lot of (stuff) is fairytale, I should say," Jones said. "It's not real life. They don't tell you how it really is. I have nothing against Tennessee. My coach down there is a great friend and father figure to me. I have no hard feelings against none of them, but down deep, this is the one you want."
NOTES: The Bengals signed kicker Josh Brown, who played five seasons with Seattle and four with St. Louis. He kicked for the Jets during preseason and was released on Aug. 27. They needed a kicker after Mike Nugent hurt his right calf during practice on Wednesday. ... C Jeff Faine was waived to open a spot for Brown, an indication that C Kyle Cook is ready to return on Sunday against the Cowboys. Cook hurt his right ankle in the final preseason game and needed surgery, prompting the Bengals to sign Faine. Cook returned to full practice on Wednesday for the first time. The Bengals will have to make another roster move to activate him off injured reserve. ... TE Jermaine Gresham (hamstring), RB Cedric Peerman (ankle) and CB Dre Kirkpatrick (concussion) also missed practice on Thursday.
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