It was announced today that Bengals CB Jones was named AFC Special Teams Player of the Week after returning three punts for 90 yards, including his 81-yarder for the games’ first TD, and one kickoff for 31 yards in Sunday’s win over the Browns. His punt-retun TD was the fifth of his career, and his first since 2006. He’s come a long way from the player once known as Pacman Jones, a player who had regular run-ins with the law, and in 2007, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced a one-year suspension for Jones for his involvement in a Las Vegas strip-club shooting. He would eventually bounce back and play for the Dallas Cowboys, though it was a less-than-memorable relationship.
After one year with the Cowboys in 2008, Jones was ouut of the NFL until the summer of 2010, when the Bengals signed him to a 2-year deal. His return to the NFL would be short-lived, as he suffered a serious neck injury in week 6 against the Falcons and missed the rest of the 2010 season.
Jones would bounce back to become the teams’ 3rd and 4th-corner at times in 2011 for a defense that finished in the top-10. Now he is fully healthy and ready to assume a much larger workload with the Bengals banged-up secondary, and is also getting a bigger workload on special teams, something that he has exceeded in when he’s gotten his opportunities.
Bengals play-by-play man Dan Hoard pointed out just how special Jones’ abilities as a return man truly are:
Jones has scored five touchdowns despite only returning 94 punts in his career – that’s a touchdown every 18.8 returns. While that’s not quite as good as Hester (TD every 17.4 returns), it’s far superior to Deion Sanders (TD every 35.3), Dante Hall (TD every 36.0) and Billy “White Shoes” Johnson (TD every 47.0).
Bengals Head Coach Marvin Lewis can’t believe his ability,
“I marvel at his abilities in many ways. He is amazing with the ball in his hands. He’s amazing when they do their individual DB drills and they’re doing a tackling drill and he’s the ball carrier. He’s very, very difficult to get your hands on.
Jones has given the Bengals a much-needed boost thus far, and hopefully he can continue to be a great player on the field, while being an even better person off the field.