Dec 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals cornerback Adam Jones (24) returns a kick off during the third quarter against the Denver Broncos at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
If you had been told at the beginning of the 2014 season that the only Cincinnati Bengals player to make the All-Pro team would be a return specialist, and that he would be one of only three Bengals players to receive any votes, you might have guessed that the Bengals campaign tanked. Here we are on January 2, though, the eve of Cincinnati’s first-round playoff match-up with the Indianapolis Colts, and Adam “Pacman” Jones has been named to his first career All-Pro team.
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Part of the narrative of the 2014 Bengals has been the maturation of Jones, and how he has become something of a role model for younger teammates. This is in stark contrast to the younger Pacman, who was viewed in many circles as a selfish player with great potential but who was too much of a loose cannon for many teams to stomach. That included his previous employers, the Tennessee Titans and the Dallas Cowboys.
At age 31, though, and beyond the platitudes about his maturity, Jones turned in one of his best return-game seasons, and he was a steady component on an underachieving team that suffered through injuries and inconsistent play on both offense and defense.
On the year, Jones finished seventh in the NFL in kick return yards, with 844, and he also turned in the longest return of the year, at 97 yards. He also finished second in the league with 31.3 yards per kick return, and fourth with 11.9 yards per punt return.
With receiver A.J. Green in doubt for Saturday’s tilt in Indianapolis, the Bengals will need all the special-teams yards they can get. Good thing they have an All-Pro on their side.