Adam Jones made a brief statement after hitting the practice field for the first time as a Bengal.
Updated: 3:55 p.m.
Marvin Lewis left no doubt Tuesday that cornerback Adam Jones has been on his radar as well as the radar of defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer since before the end of last season. The Bengals head coach went a step farther when he said that Jones' effort to revive his career is "imminent" in joining the success stories of other troubled NFL refugees that have joined the Bengals.
Lewis introduced Jones after the first on-field session of the season. Jones took no questions in the Paul Brown Stadium news conference room, but is available to the media for questions next week.
After thanking Lewis, Jones ad-libbed off some notes.
"First of all, I want to thank God for putting me in this situation. I want to thank the fans and the media for (your) attention today," he said.
"I still think I have the skill set that made me a high draft choice. I know I have a ton, a ton of work to do. It would be a dream come true to come in here and help the Bengals in any way I can and also help them win the championship. Like I said, I know I have a ton of work to do. To gain your guys' trust, it's not going to come overnight. It's going to take time.
"All I can do is take it one day at a time. Focus in on the things I've been focusing in. Come play football. Like I said, I'm happy to be here. I want to thank the city of Cincinnati for giving me and my family a fresh start. I want to thank the guys upstairs. Mr. Brown. I want to thank Coach (Lewis). I want to thank Coach Zimmer. I want to thank the whole organization. I'm happy to be here. I look forward to talking to y'all real soon."
For the past week there have been all sorts of published reports trying to pin the decision to sign Jones on someone specific in the organization. On Tuesday, Lewis didn't back down from his interest or pursuit in a guy that was the sixth pick in the 2005 draft. Jones has played just nine games since his breakout year in '06, thanks in large part to 22 games lost to NFL suspension in the wake of six arrests and a dozen incidents involving police.
"Mike (Zimmer) brought up (his name) during last season and we decided to stay the course with the guys we were playing with when they got banged up a little bit and tried to fight through it a little bit," Lewis said. "After the season I kind of raised it and did some research on it. We brought him in and worked him out. He wasn't in the shape he is now. To his credit."
Lewis said he told Jones "to take care of your business," and the club might bring him back for another look after the draft.
"We raised everybody's awareness of things and everything kind of checked out since then," Lewis said. The only hesitancy is the perception of things and I feel comfortable with the things he has talked to me about. So we made a decision to do it. We know the downside of it, but I trust he will resurrect his career with this opportunity and get himself going and have an opportunity to be a productive player here or somewhere else. Because I don't know if he'll make our team. He'll have a good shot at it. The only way to do it is put him on the team right now and see."
Before the Cowboys cut Jones after the 2008 season, they put him with a bodyguard, which led to another incident. Lewis wouldn't comment on what the Bengals plan to do with Jones, except that he'll give him a shot to play cornerback and return punts and kicks.
Lewis said the downside is "the initial perception."
"We heard the same thing with Cedric (Benson). We heard the same thing with Larry Johnson," Lewis said. "And things worked out. They made the turn and I think in this guy's case the same thing is imminent. I'm excited about that for him."
Quarterback Carson Palmer said the addition of such a controversial player won't affect a locker room that has absorbed several players with troubled pasts.
"I think given the room around him and the leaders and the veterans and the guys that understand how to do things right," Palmer said. "How to help teammates out in tough situations. I think he's coming into a really good situation. Especially in his DB room. A lot of veterans. Chris Crocker. Roy Williams. Both of our starting corners (Johnathan Joseph and Leon Hall) are great guys. Guys that have learned a lot since they've been in the league and can help him along his way. From an overall standpoint we've got a bunch of guys that do things right. We've got some guys that have been through similar situations and straightened things out for themselves and he can learn from those guys also."
An ebullient Lewis said that on Tuesday Jones looked like he did last Tuesday in his workout. Quick with sharp breaks on the ball. On one quick pattern against wide receiver Chris Davis, Jones broke in time to knock the ball out of Davis' hands. But Lewis emphasized Jones has a lot of work in front of him because he hasn't played in a year.
"That's when you start relying on your athleticism," Lewis said of the layoff, which is why the Bengals will try to uncover his physical skills with coaching and technique.