IRVING, Texas -- No matter how things play out, June 2, 2008, goes down as a big day for the Dallas Cowboys.
First came the bolt from the NFL: Commissioner Roger Goodell partially reinstated suspended cornerback Adam "Pacman" Jones. Not only can Jones join the team for workouts, he also was cleared to play in training camp and preseason games -- everything but the regular season. The league said a decision on that will come by Sept. 1, six days before the Cowboys' opener.
Vic Carucci's take: I have a long way to go before I can feel comfortable about Adam Jones returning to play in the NFL. That doesn't exactly put me on an island. And if it does, it's a pretty big island.
I believe some people can't be turned around, that it is simply not in their nature to steer clear of the trouble that is always easy for anyone to find -- even easier for a young professional athlete who has a lot of money and has shown a willingness to surround himself with dubious friends. More ...
Also Monday, the team agreed to a three-year contract extension with Terrell Owens worth $27 million, according to NFL Network's Adam Schefter.
On Tuesday, Jones was expected on the field, while the Cowboys also called a 4 p.m. news conference. The club didn't say it was to announce Owens' deal, but did say Owens and team owner Jerry Jones would attend. Pacman's partial reinstatement obviously was to be discussed, too.
Locking up Owens makes sense because he's been so productive and so happy, at least since Bill Parcells left after the 2006 season. Owens never publicly pouted about going into the final year of his initial contract with the Cowboys, and this agreement -- which pays him close to what Randy Moss recently received from the Patriots -- should keep him smiling, especially since it keeps him employed through his 38th birthday.
Owens maintained all offseason that he wasn't worried about his contract status, confident Jerry Jones would take care of him.
Jerry Jones, meanwhile, has spent weeks waiting to see what Goodell would do about Pacman.
The commissioner had been indicating a July meeting would be necessary before letting Pacman go to training camp, but apparently things went pretty well when they chatted two weeks ago in Atlanta following the NFL Spring Meeting.
It's also possible the commissioner is counting on the Cowboys and their player development staff to keep him in check. The team helped defensive tackle Tank Johnson return from a similar suspension last season and has successfully dealt with other troubled players.
"Commissioner Goodell told Jones that his continued participation in the NFL depends on demonstrating that he can conduct himself in a lawful and reliable manner," the league wrote in a statement. "Jones will be expected to continue the personal conduct program established for him by the NFL and the Cowboys and to avoid further adverse involvement with law enforcement."
Jones was an elite cornerback and kick returner in his first two seasons with the Tennessee Titans, but an accumulation of arrests and legal problems, including his connection to a shooting at a Las Vegas strip club, led to his suspension without pay on April 10, 2007.
More trouble followed, including felony charges related to the strip club shooting, which left a bouncer paralyzed. Recent revelations include extortion payments made to the alleged shooter, whom Jones helped police apprehend, and a $20,000 debt repaid to a Las Vegas casino after a felony theft warrant was threatened.
All told, he's been arrested six times and has been involved in 12 incidents requiring police intervention since being drafted.
The Cowboys traded draft picks for Jones in April and gave him a restructured contract that minimizes their risk. The trade includes contingency plans if Jones never plays for Dallas.
"This limited reinstatement is a step in the process," Jerry Jones said. "Adam is aware of the things that need to be done in order to take the next step."
Pacman Jones moved to Dallas recently and already has been hanging out with teammates and working out in the area. He's also started bonding with Johnson, both knowing they are down to their last chance with the NFL.
"The important thing is getting him here and getting him acclimated," Johnson said. "I have told him, 'You are a good kid, we know you and we're looking forward to having you on the team and we're excited about you proving everybody wrong."'
Basically, the team isn't getting its hopes up, considering Pacman's availability a bonus.
"If (Pacman) can come out and help us here, great," said linebacker Bradie James, the defensive captain last season. "But if he doesn't, we've got enough guys to make it happen."
Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press