Updated: 10:50 p.m.
Artrell Hawkins, an old Bengals cornerback himself now a special correspondent for Cincinnati's Channel 5, began Thursday night's locker-room interview with Adam Jones thusly:
"Adam," Jones corrected and smiled before quickly launching into "I feel pretty good. My main goal is to tweak my technique, stay in shape, and get through this healthy."
Ironically, with other cornerbacks dropping like flies, it's the healthiest Jones says he has been since he took a punt in Seattle last Oct. 30 for 63 yards before he pulled a hamstring. He says the hamstring problems that limited his spring work and took him out of several of the practices are gone and that he's "100 percent."
It's a good thing down on this corner, where training camp starts Friday at 3 p.m. on Paul Brown Stadium's grass fields.
Indications are first-round pick Dre Kirkpatrick can come back in a month, but with his training camp wiped out it raises big questions about how much he can contribute his rookie year. Head coach Marvin Lewis said Kirkpatrick's leg injury isn't major, and he indicated it doesn't involve a broken bone and that it stems from the growth of the leg.
"We've known about it for two weeks," said Lewis, who wouldn't give a timetable for Kirkpatrick's return. "It's a very common thing."
Meanwhile, starting left cornerback Nate Clements revealed that he won't be out there early in training camp. He says he won't be shelved for as long as Kirkpatrick, but it sounds like he's going to take a week before he tries to return. He missed all of spring ball with what he called a muscle pull in the groin and abdominal region.
"Can't put a timetable on it," Clements said. "When you have a groin injury or a hamstring, they can keep lingering on and those are things we don't want to do. We want to make sure that doesn't happen."
It sounds like Leon Hall, the other starter who is coming off a torn Achilles, is going to be out there Friday. But he won't be getting a lot of snaps and he'll be easing into the transition from rehab.
Now suddenly there is Jones, last seen on a volatile sideline in Houston during the frustrating Wild Card loss. It looked like the Bengals were going to move on without him in the offseason, but comfortable with how he has rebuilt his life and career in Cincinnati he opted for a one-year deal.
He had started the last seven games and the Wild Card game in place of Hall, but then watched the Bengals sign two cornerbacks in free agency (Jason Allen and Terence Newman) and draft one first. Now here he is seemingly healthy at just the right time after all the hamstring problems and herniating a neck disk in the fifth game of his first season in Cincinnati in 2010.
"This is my second time getting through the OTAs and camp. The first time, I had a great year," Jones said of 2006 and his first alternate Pro Bowl berth. "I pretty much know the defense in and out. The main thing is to stay healthy and working on press coverage. Making sure my wind is there so I can press the majority of the game."
After '06, his second year in the NFL when he returned three punts for TDs, his "Pacman" off-field problems caught up to him and he lost the next three years before hooking on with the Bengals in 2010 just as OTAs started.
After this offseason when Jones became friends with Cincinnati Police Chief James Craig and worked one of his youth boot camps before becoming the hit of last month's NFL Rookie Symposium with two emotional speeches of what not to do, he seems ready to put in the final piece at age 28 as "Adam."
His game. Certainly special teams coach Darrin Simmons can't wait to get him out there and with the depth tested the Bengals have an NFL veteran corner who won't back down.
"I'm pretty confident," Jones said. I've worked really hard in the (offseason). I've trained my tail off. I've been here more than anyone in the building. I've studied. It's just time to put it all together. I pray to God my body stays healthy. I've done the things to keep it up, so it should.
"I'm just trying to fit in. "Whatever I can do to help the team, that's what I want to do."
In a field of six first-round corners, Jones, the sixth pick in the 2005 draft and Newman, the fifth pick in '03, were the highest selected. Don't think that's lost on these guys, particularly Jones, a competitor with a long memory.
"We've got a lot of first-rounders," Jones said. "Put us out there and see who can compete the best. All of us love to compete."
Jones laughed when asked if he could talk about the depth chart, which Lewis is keeping from the public until Aug. 6.
"I'm always a first-teamer regardless of what it says," Jones said.
He may have to be to get them through.
SLANTS AND SCREENS
» The Pro Bowl rookie combo of wide receiver A.J. Green and quarterback Andy Dalton isn't resting on its laurels. Before they drew the biggest ovations at Thursday night's pep rally for season-ticket holders during the player introductions, Green and Dalton talked about what they want to improve this season.
Green said he wants to control his frustration at the double coverages that defenses threw his way late last season.
"Coach sat me down and said, 'They're going to keep rolling to your side,' " Green said. "I just have to learn to play different positions. They moved me around toward the end of last season. That's what I'm looking forward to this year: playing multiple positions and that's what I'm going to have to do."
When he came back in April, Dalton talked about improving his deep accuracy with his footwork and he repeated his mission statement Thursday.
"A lot of it is footwork and timing, too," he said. "Knowing that you have to get ball out. A lot of throwing the ball is the feet. There were times going back and watching games that my footwork wasn't sound. It affected my throws. They weren't as accurate as I wanted them to be."
» Green, the first rookie Pro Bowl wide receiver in eight years last season, revealed Thursday that he was so nervous this time a year ago that he couldn't sleep.
No more. And he said anything less than going to the Pro Bowl "is a failure."
Green said he didn't get the call from Larry Fitzgerald this summer to work out in Minnesota, so he spent July working with another Pro Bowler, Calvin Johnson, near his home in Atlanta.
» Wide receiver Jordan Shipley, coming off a torn ACL, said he worked out Thursday morning and he feels good enough to return. But he says he might not be out there Friday and isn't sure when he'll be cleared.
"Everything went really well. I think I'm ready to go for sure," Shipley said.
Shipley admitted it's "weird to be three years in and be one of the oldest guys" in his position group. "That's good. We've got a lot of guys that are huingry and want to work hard. Me and Andrew (Hawkins) were talking today about (we're) the two oldest (receivers). That's pretty funny."
You can look it up. They are both 26. Shipley turns 27 on Dec. 23 and Hakwins doesn't get there until March 10. The youngest is New Mexico rookie free agent Taveon Rogers, who doesn't turn 22 until the last week of camp on Aug. 17.