Adam Pacman Jones spent 12 seasons as a cornerback in the NFL. He played for Tennessee Titans, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos, and Cincinnati Bengals. The latter was home to Jones for most of his career. His career was a bit of a roller coaster ride, but he showed resiliency in the face of adversity. The Atlanta, Georgia native spoke with Hall of Famer Shannon Sharpe about his journey. He also called out his least favorite team in the NFL, the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Pacman Jones defends Vontaze Burfict to an extent
The name Vontaze Burfict rings bells across the NFL, and not for a good reason. Burfict played eight seasons in the NFL for the Bengals and the Oakland Raiders. Trouble seemed to follow him throughout his career. The former Arizona State star was suspended numerous times for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drug policy and for illegal hits against opposing players.
Burfict is considered one of the reasons the NFL is cracking down on helmet-to-helmet contact and targeting. The league has made it a priority to protect the health of the players as much as possible. Burfict seemed to have no regard for player safety when he played. He’s been out of the league since 2019, as his stint with Raiders lasted four games.
Pacman Jones played with Burfict in Cincinnati for six seasons. The former All-Pro cornerback attempted to defend Burfict on Shannon Sharpe’s Club Shay Shay podcast.
Without hesitation, Jones said he “loved” playing on the same defense as Burfict. Sharpe called out the former linebacker for his dirty plays. The West Virginia product took great exception. “I cannot let you sit here and say all that was dirty,” he said. “90% of it was outside noise.”
Jones did acknowledge that Burfict committed some dirty acts during his career. However, he feels that, by and large, the infractions were overblown. The ex-Pro Bowler said he warned his teammate several times that the NFL would fine him if he didn’t stop. Pacman gave the linebacker credit for trying, but clearly, he did not try hard enough.
Pacman Jones called the Pittsburgh Steelers the dirtiest team in NFL
Pacman Jones saw trends in the personal foul penalties Burfict was getting called for during his tenure with the Bengals. He proceeded to make an interesting observation. He claims the majority of the penalties were called during games against the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“Them motherf—— the dirtiest team in the league,” Jones emphatically yelled. He referenced longtime Steelers center Maurkice Pouncey as one of the players that stood out to him as dirty. Ironically, he calls Pittsburgh the dirtiest team yet defended his teammate, who is essentially banned from the league at this point.
Sharpe brought up the infamous hit that Burfict laid on Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown. The hit occurred during the 2015 NFL playoffs. An uncatchable pass from Ben Roethlisberger skied over Brown’s head as he ran a slant route. Burfict ran toward Brown, lowered his shoulder, and struck the wideout in the helmet.
At that point, AB was defenseless, and the defender made an unnecessary hit. He didn’t even make an attempt at the football. Adam Jones downplayed the hit, claiming Brown was just fine. “That man AB winked at us, man. Y’all crazy,” he said.
The NFL has made significant changes to its rule book
Today’s NFL officiates the game much differently than it did in the 1990s and the early 2000s. Physicality was the name of the game, and players got away with hits that would not fly in the league today.
The league instituted stricter rules in 2018, with an emphasis on players lowering their heads while tackling. The rule was designed to help the offensive players and protect the defensive players as well.
Football is a physical sport by nature, but the NFL has tried to eliminate the unnecessary hits. Head, neck, and spine injuries are serious matters. The rulebook is not without its flaws, but the premise behind it does have good intentions.
NFL players have to abide by the rules, or their careers will end sooner than expected, like Vontaze Burfict.