Cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones reportedly is close to a deal to play for the Cincinnati Bengals this season. The team's defensive coordinator said he doesn't believe Jones will be a distraction for the defending AFC North champions.
"We've got a bunch of strong character guys on defense," Mike Zimmer told The Dallas Morning News. "I'm not going to let this kid screw up our chemistry. I don't think he will. He looked me in the eye and shook my hand and said, 'Coach, I just want to play.' He seems very humble. He seems to understand."
A league source told the NFL Network that one of Jones' representatives, Ray Savage, had several conversations with the Bengals during the cornerback's visit with Cincinnati on Tuesday, and the sides have the nucleus of a multiyear deal in place.
Savage and the Bengals expect to put the details to paper this week, according to the NFL Network, and Jones should join the team's offseason program Monday.
A contract hasn't been signed as of Thursday, however. The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that Jones and the Bengals are still negotiating performance incentives and conduct clauses in the contract.
"There's no deal until there is something signed on paper," Tom Hunter, another of Jones' representatives, told the newspaper.
Jones hasn't played in the NFL since 2008, after being released by the Dallas Cowboys.
Bengals defensive tackle Tank Johnson told the team's website that Jones told him he is going to sign with Cincinnati and "he's ecstatic."
Johnson was a teammate of Jones' with the Cowboys in 2008. That season, Jones was suspended for six games and later released. Jones has been suspended for the entire 2007 season while he was a member of the Tennessee Titans.
However, Johnson said Jones has changed since.
"I know he's settled down," Johnson said Wednesday, according to Bengals.com. "I think you have to settle down. I think he would have been dead by now if he didn't settle down. That's the honest to god truth."
Johnson also has had off-field troubles and served a past eight-game suspension. But he's turned his life and career around with the Bengals and credits Zimmer.
"I think Zim will be good for him; all he has to do is listen to Zim," Johnson said, according to Bengals.com. "I can talk to Zim. Adam needs to listen to Zim. There is a difference there. I've earned the right to talk to Zim and Adam has not earned the right to open his mouth to Zim. He needs to listen to all the wise things Zim has to say and soak it all in like a sponge and go from there."
If he signs with the Bengals, Jones will provide depth for an already talented secondary.
The Bengals have one of the best cornerback tandems in the league in Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall, who had six interceptions apiece last season. The defense finished fourth in the league, one of the main reasons Cincinnati won the AFC North with a 10-6 record.
Cincinnati drafted cornerback Brandon Ghee from Wake Forest in the third round last month, looking for depth at the position.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.