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Cowboys' Tank to the commish: Let Pacman play

IRVING -- Cowboys nose tackle Tank Johnson stood at his locker and looked into a TV camera and had a message for NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“Roger, please, let him play,” Johnson said. “From Tank. Thanks, buddy.”

The “him” Johnson is talking about, of course, is Cowboys suspended cornerback Pacman Jones, who hopes to start working out with his new team soon. Johnson, who served an eight-game suspension last year, has reached out to Jones as a mentor who has also been in trouble with the league. He is helping Jones down the path to getting back in the league, as he was able to do last year.

One big step was taken last week, when, according to sources, Jones met with Goodell in Atlanta. The Cowboys are now waiting on word whether Jones will be allowed to begin working out at the facility and eventually finding out if he can play this season. The NFL said there is no change in his status.

Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said the meeting does not make him any more optimistic about Pacman’s status and doesn’t want to be presumptuous of what Goodell might or might not do. He also said he did not know what came out of the meeting with Goodell and Pacman.

Jerry Jones said Pacman’s $20,000 gambling debt to Caesars Palace, which has been paid, is not viewed as a setback in the reinstatement and that the NFL was aware of it.

“First of all, I’ve been very familiar with the issue regarding his debts, which included in that would be the gambling debt,” Jerry Jones said. “I know that didn’t violate NFL rules. Having said that and my knowledge of knowing that then, I’m not overly concerned.”

Johnson said he talks with Pacman Jones every week on the phone and he advises him. He also still talks often with Goodell but wouldn’t say if he has lobbied for Pacman.

“His head is in the right place,” Johnson said of Pacman. “He’s eager to get out here with his teammates. He’s eager to get acclimated to our system. He understands the position he’s in and he’s ready to prove everyone wrong.

“He’s in the position that’s essentially his last straw.”