NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans of Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel value football-first players, distraction-free guys who treat the team as they want to be treated.

So, on a weekend when the franchise will honor two guys who exemplified that as they retiring the numbers of Eddie George and Steve McNair, I was shocked to see the list of participants in the weekend’s festivities include Pacman Jones, the one player from the franchise’s Tennessee era who landed the furthest from the mark.GeorgeRetirePresser

My initial reporting of why he was on the list indicated that George himself has included the renegade Titan, who played the last of his 12 NFL seasons in 2017 in Denver. The sixth pick in the 2005 draft missed the 2007 season with the Titans for a violating the league’s personal conduct penalty and he was out of the league in 2009.

As probably only George could, he explained to me after a Thursday press conference at the Titans’ headquarters why he included Jones on his list of players he asked to be included. [Unlocked]

“Why not? Here’s the thing,” George said. “Everybody that put this uniform on is family, and there is always opportunity. He can’t be ostracized. In order to really have impact on somebody and to really make a change, you’ve got to bring him in. His career is over. He’s probably wondering what to do next. He needs guidance, he needs mentorship. And so he can be a great example for guys to say, ‘You know what? I did it this way, I made some mistakes, blop, blop blop, don’t go down this path.’EddieList

“I don’t know him that well. But listen, if it’s Vince Young, if it’s Pacman Jones, anybody that’s put on this uniform, I’m open. It’s open arms. Because we need that. I would never shut the door on somebody that needs some guidance or wants mentorship or wants a family to lean on.

"The worst thing that can happen, and here it goes back to the CTE situation and I get it, there is still research into that, but what is worse than that is a lost soul, man.

“Once you’re out of those gates, you’re out. And you’re just trying to look for some guidance to say, 'OK, what can I do next, who can I lean on?' The Titans are doing a better job of being out in the community, being more community-driven.

"What better way to take some of the great assets of this city in terms of businesses and entrepreneurship centers and tie them to our resource centers so guys can have an idea of what they want to draw back into?

apple icon 114x114 precomposed“To show goodwill to Pacman and say, 'You didn’t have the best time here but you’re still family?' You know what? That’s what Pittsburgh does. That’s what Chicago does. That’s what some of the successful programs do. Belichick is talking a risk on AB. That could turn out to be great fruit for him. But AB will be forever loyal to him, for a lifetime. It’s about relationships, it’s not about winning, it’s about relationships, truly.

“That’s what made our teams great.”

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