IRVING — Dallas Cowboys coach Wade Phillips took a step Thursday morning to keep Adam “Pacman” Jones’ incident from becoming a distraction for his team.
But with the volume of media in the locker room Thursday afternoon, that could be difficult.
Phillips addressed Jones’ latest run-in with trouble during a team meeting at Valley Ranch stressing to the players to not let this disrupt their focus on Sunday’s game at Arizona.
Jones was involved in a fight with his Cowboys-appointed bodyguards at the Joule Hotel in Dallas Tuesday night. The incident happened at a party hosted by rapper Ludacris and occurred at approximately 11 p.m., according to a Dallas police report.
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Tight end Jason Witten and some of the players were not aware of the incident until arriving at Valley Ranch Thursday morning for meetings.
“Coach Phillips just reminded us to stay focused and think about the challenge at hand and not to let all of this get in the way of it,” Witten said. “If we let it, it will definitely be a distraction.”
It appears the Cowboys are not likely to take any action against Jones, who was reinstated in August after a one-year suspension. Jones was at practice Thursday and was singing during individual skills. The media gathering included 11 cameras fixed on Jones at practice.
Besides Witten, Cowboys nose tackle Tank Johnson was one of the few players available during the open locker session with the media. Johnson, who also has a troubled past and has mentored Jones, came to his teammates’ defense and claims the latest problem involving the former suspended player is being blown out of proportion. Johnson, also a former suspended player for violating the league’s code of conduct, said he didn’t expect NFL commissioner Roger Goodell to punish Jones.
“Nothing bad happened,” Johnson said. “This is completely overblown. As a team, I think we’re fine. We’re not going to be distracted by it.
“I don’t think he did anything. He’s not in any trouble.”
Jones has not been available in the locker room during media availability since the incident.
Johnson said he has talked with Jones about what happened and told him, “to keep his head up.” Johnson also said he doesn’t feel Jones needs to address the team about his situation.
The police report also states that both men said everything was “OK” and that a glass light-switch plate had been broken
Goodell was on ESPN radio Thursday afternoon and said he is gathering the facts about the incident.
“We are trying to determine all the facts,” Goodell said. “It’s clear there was some type of incident and we want to understand all the facts. Once we understand all the facts we can make a judgment.”
Johnson said he was not an eye witness to the incident and would not confirm whether he was also at the party.