In the next few days, NFL teams will send their first-year players to a four-day symposium to learn about vital issues surrounding their newfound wealth and physically demanding profession.
This year, they'll get together in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.
It's the one chance the NFL gets to address its entire draft class in the same place at the same time. It's serious business because, let's face it, the NFL is a serious business.
Serious about making money, that is.
Rookies attend the symposium to find out more about investments and how to prepare for their first training camp. They learn about the grind of a four-game preseason, a 16-game regular season and then the postseason, for those fortunate few.
Discipline is also a popular topic at these conferences, in addition to what the league expects of a player in how he conducts himself off the field. That's become a point of emphasis for first-year NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, who has grown tired of sobering news accounts about A) Cincinnati Bengals arrests; B) Tank Johnson's gun collection; C) Michael Vick's alleged ties to dogfighting; and D) the inimitable Adam "Pacman" Jones.
They need to revamp the agenda, however, for this year's NFL rookies symposium. They need to devote an entire day to perhaps the dumbest man to ever walk the planet, the aforementioned Pacman Jones.
Jones, a Tennessee Titans cornerback who has been suspended for the entire 2007 season, can't stay out of the news these days. We learned on Wednesday that Las Vegas police will charge Jones with two felonies stemming from a strip club melee during the NBA All-Star Weekend that led to a triple shooting that left one bar employee paralyzed.
This, just two days after Jones was being sought by Atlanta police for questioning about a shooting involving members of his posse after a fight a strip club in that city.
This, just a week or so after Goodell heard Pacman's impassioned plea that he was going to get his act together so he could return to the NFL, ostensibly as soon as the final six weeks of regular-season play this fall. NFL officials indicated Jones could be reinstated after 10 games if he followed guidelines set by the Titans and had no further "adverse involvement with law enforcement."
In Vegas, I'm thinking most folks are betting the over.
On Park Avenue, I'm thinking the NFL suits are wondering when this public relations nightmare will be over.
"As we have stated, (Jones') status will be reviewed after the Titans' 10th regular-season game," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello told the Associated Press.
As I have stated, Pacman Jones is an idiot.
That's why the NFL rookies symposium needs to take a look at Jones' spiral into the abyss. He was the sixth player chosen in the 2005 NFL Draft, a physically gifted cornerback from West Virginia who has been arrested five times in the last two years or so. He's yet to be convicted of any crimes, but he is now facing two counts of felony coercion.
The Vegas police report indicates Jones has a little problem with strip club etiquette, or what passes for such. Jones and another man got involved in a dispute, the report said, before Jones told the guy, "I'll kill all y'all in here."
(Aside to NFL: That's one phrase you might want to cover in this mandatory training session for rookies. As in, never say, "I'll kill all y'all in here." It's hard to put a positive spin on that one.)