Pacman fits right in

PAUL FRIESEN, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:02 AM ET

My goodness, where to begin?

This is like shooting fish in a barrel. Hunting at the zoo. Flipping through the Victoria's Secret Catalogue with your eyes closed, stopping at a page and saying, "I'll take a date with her."

You simply can't miss.

The Winnipeg Blue Bombers, the runaway choice as the CFL's easiest team to take a run at, has done it again, setting itself up for another public spanking.

And it's not just the effort to sign Adam (Pacman) Jones, the NFL's runaway leader in police blotter mentions the last few years.

It's the way it went down.

Bomber personnel boss John Murphy, a man who loves to talk, tells a reporter from Sports Illustrated's website (SI.com) that he's about to sign the most controversial football figure this side of Michael Vick.

The news spreads like H1N1 and the Bombers go into full damage control mode, trotting out director of football operations Ross Hodgkinson, yet again, to deny they've signed anybody to anything.

Just like he did for Spygate, Hodgkinson tells the assembled media the topic is verboten when head coach Mike Kelly comes around for his daily media update.

Enter Kelly, a man who preaches character and community respect, but who won't address the effort to sign a player who has more serious run-ins with police (13) than most of us have parking tickets.

Oh, Kelly acknowledged Jones is on the Bomber negotiation list. Even admitted they've investigated his background, and that there's more to his story than meets the public eye.

I'll say.

Jones is best known for the "make it rain" strip club incident a couple years back, where he sprinkled some $80,000 in cash over the dancers, then freaked out when they tried to keep the money.

That little game ended up with three people being shot, one paralyzed from the waist down, although Jones got off on a relatively minor misdemeanor conviction.

Not as well known is the last criminal matter Jones faced the music for.

In February of 2008, Jones entered the equivalent of a no-contest plea and was sentenced to three years probation for throwing a punch at and biting a police officer in Fayetteville, GA., in 2006.

"It is clearly a conviction," the district attorney, Scott Ballard, told The Associated Press. "When his criminal history is run, he'll be a convicted felon."

That's one of six times Jones has been arrested, most for violent incidents at strip clubs.

The NFL suspended him for all of the 2007 season, after which those bastions of purity, the Dallas Cowboys, gave him one more chance last year.

A drunken run-in with the team's own bodyguard led to another four-game suspension in '08.

Also little known is the fact the Cowboys released him last year, in part, because he remained a suspect in a 2007 shooting outside an Atlanta club.

Not a single NFL team would touch the guy this year.

But in come the Blue Bombers, and a head coach who, the day he took the job, talked about changing the culture around here, promising to "get rid of a--holes."

Hey, I'm all for giving people second, third, fourth chances.

There are surely worse people in pro football who've done worse things than Jones, a hard-luck kid whose father was reportedly murdered when he was four.

The guy, still just 25, has never done jail time, although, considering his history, one trip to a local strip joint could take care of that.

He's certainly a talented cornerback and kick returner, someone who might make the Bombers a better team, assuming he can pick up the Canadian game.

And assuming (I wouldn't) he can get across the border.

But is he worth all the bad publicity?

Come to think of it, he fits into this organization perfectly.

Contact Paul at paul.friesen@sunmedia.ca or 632-2788.


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