Just two days after it was revealed that former NFL cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones was slated to speak at this year's Rookie Symposium, a jury in Nevada ruled that Jones was responsible for the injuries suffered by two security guards at a Las Vegas strip club in 2007, and ordered him to pay $11.6 million to the victims, and to the wife of one of the victims. TMZ.com was the first to report the news, which has been confirmed by the Associated Press.
Thomas Urbanski, who was paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting, was awarded $9.6 million. He wife was awarded $750,000 for loss of marital relations, and Aaron Cusworth, the other victim, was awarded $1.3 million.
Lisa Rasmussen, Jones' attorney, told the AP that Jones won't have the money to cover the costs, because he doesn't get paid until the 2012 NFL season starts. Jones signed a one-year deal with the Cincinnati Bengals in March that is reportedly worth $950,000, including incentives.
''People perceive him as a person who is able to pay $11 million,'' Rasmussen said. ''Adam doesn't even get paid until he plays his first game.''
The shooting occurred at the Minxx strip club in Las Vegas on February 9, 2007, and was made famous by Jones' intention to "make it rain" with thousands of single bills. He became contentious when he believed that some of the dancers was taking money without his permission. A fight ensued that went outside the club, and that's when Urbamski and Cudworth were shot.
Jones was not one of the shooters, but he pled no contest to misdemeanor conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct and was given a year of probation and ordered to perform 200 hours of community service.
Selected in the first round of the 2005 NFL draft (sixth overall) by the Tennessee Titans, Jones was a productive player early in his career. His best season came in 2006, when he returned three punts for touchdowns and intercepted four passes, scoring another touchdown on one of them.
Soon after, however, Jones' personal life started to bring his football career down. Jones was suspended for the entire 2007 season after the strip club incident, and by the time he got back on a football field with the Dallas Cowboys in 2008, it was clear that his famous playing speed was but a memory. He washed out in Dallas, only to land in Cincinnati for two seasons. He started down the stretch in 2011, saw action as a nickel cornerback otherwise, and continued his downhill slide as a football player. The last most people saw of Jones was in the Bengals' playoff loss to the Houston Texans, when he was abused by Andre Johnson on a touchdown in a 31-10 loss.
Some may say that having Jones speak at the Rookie Symposium makes about as much sense as having Matt Millen on the Competition Committee (which, amazingly, also happened at one time). We disagree, though. What better way for first-year players -- especially someone like Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Justin Blackmon -- to get the message from the story Jones can tell? Rookies need to know that they're not ten feet tall and bulletproof, and Jones provides a compelling cautionary tale.
Besides, as much as Jones has taken from the NFL, it's about time he gave something back.
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