Second-chance story sounds familiar

IAN BUSBY, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:49 AM ET

As a card-carrying member of the second-chance club, Derek Watson knows it will be a long, tough road for Pacman Jones.

But the former NFL defensive back and kick returner couldn't pick a better place to prove he can stay on the straight and narrow than coming to play with the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, according to the Stamps running back.

Watson thought he was done with football until the Stamps offered him a shot at resurrecting his career this spring. The highly-touted ball-carrier had a rocky three-year stint at South Carolina with four incidents that made headlines, and he eventually left the Gamecocks after an arrest for marijuana in 2002.

It wasn't his final off-field problem, but Watson has cleaned up his act and become a family man in recent years.

Playing with the Stamps is just another step in recovering what he lost, and Jones could have the same chance with the Bombers.

The only difference between the two players is the severity of Jones' incidents and his high-profile nature.

"This says a lot about the league because they are willing to give guys a chance," Watson said. "Even your fourth or fifth chance, everyone deserves a chance.

"People mess up and make bad decisions. Everyone deserves a chance to redeem yourself. It says a lot about the people in the front office who are willing to give guys a chance to get their life back in order and live a positive one from now on.

"Whether he gets back to the NFL or not, this is an opportunity from the coaches and staff in the CFL to get the career in order."

Jones wouldn't be the first player to come to the CFL after off-field incidents.

It's different from when Ricky Williams came to play with the Toronto Argonauts in 2006 because Williams was under suspension by the NFL at the time.

Although he has a checkered past, Jones isn't under suspension. But no team would take a chance on him in the U.S.

Watson said there is a chance the CFL can offer a positive surrounding for Jones as long as he leaves those negative influences behind.

"Hopefully he gets it all together," Watson said. "I've never run across him, but we've had similar pasts.

"I know if I can turn it around, he can most certainly turn it around."


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