For the Record
What are the Cowboys going to do with Pacman Jones?

Have you ever told a house guest you didn’t particularly like that they’re more than welcome to stay at your place again if they’re ever back in town? You know, just to be nice and part on good terms, even though you already had a prepared list excuses for why they couldn’t stay with you if they ever had the nerve to actually call you again.

Well, Pacman Jones is back in town and Jerry Jones should be looking for excuses to keep him out of the front door.

Unfortunately for the Cowboys, it’s too late.

Pacman isn’t calling ahead or even knocking on the door; he’s simply sliding in through the side window, kicking off his shoes and making himself at home again at Valley Ranch, and Jerry Jones only has himself to blame.

There is no place on the Cowboys -- or, really, in the NFL -- for Pacman Jones but Jerry Jones didn’t have the guts to make that perfectly clear to Pacman when the league suspended him for four games in October. Now he must welcome Pacman back onto a team just beginning to rehabilitate its image.

While Cowboys players and coaches might publicly welcome Pacman back to the team, don’t be fooled. They'd just as soon he be gone. For good. He’s the last person they want to be talking about right now.

The Cowboys don’t need Pacman now. They needed him the past five weeks when Terence Newman was out with a sports hernia, when Anthony Henry was playing through various injuries and when rookie cornerbacks Mike Jenkins and Orlando Scandrick were struggling to learn coverages. Now that all four players are back and playing well, Pacman is nothing more than a fifth wheel on a car that’s just beginning to drive properly.

His return will be nothing more than a distraction to a team trying to find its way while sailing under the radar of skeptics who still doubt it will make the playoffs. If Pacman was a great player or played a position of need on the Cowboys, I could almost understand Jerry Jones bending over backwards to allow him to return to the team. But the fact is Pacman wasn’t that good when he was on the team and I can’t imagine he’ll be any better when he returns as a backup cornerback.

Pacman was supposed to be one of the most electrifying kick returners in football and a shutdown cover corner, but the truth is he was marginal-to-average at best at both positions this season. Through six games before his suspension he had returned 16 punts for 80 yards without a score and recorded no interceptions with six pass deflections on defense. Those are pedestrian numbers for a player who has been given the superstar treatment in terms of reclamation projects.

Although it was too late for Jones to defy Pacman a second chance with the Cowboys after leaving the door open following his suspension, he has at least pushed back his return another two weeks despite his reinstatement. Pacman won’t play this week or next for the Cowboys while he settles back in and attempts to stay out of trouble without the help of the team-mandated bodyguards which played a part in getting him suspended last month. His first game back with the team, if he makes it that long, will be Dec. 7 at Pittsburgh. Considering he kept his nose clean for 41 days the last time he was reinstated, 17 days shouldn’t be too hard.

Then again, don’t look for many Cowboys to worry about Pacman slipping up again. They’d just as soon have him go home and leave them alone for good. Just ask anyone in Tennessee if they miss having him around.


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