Cincinnati cornerback Adam Jones said the league fined him $35,000 for Sunday’s incident when he knocked off Oakland receiver Amari Cooper’s helmet and slammed his head against it at the end of a play in the second quarter of the Bengals’ 33-13 win.
“I’m not going to B.S. and cry to the media,” Jones said. “Thirty-five thousand, it is what it is. I’ll appeal it, and if it gets appealed, great. If it don’t, I guess I donated to somebody’s college fund.”
Jones admitted he made a mistake but stopped short of saying it won’t happen again.
“I’ve learned from this mistake and hopefully it won’t happen again, but I can’t promise you guys that in the heat of the moment that it won’t happen again,” he said. “I do my best to keep composure and do what I have to do to not hurt my team.
“I’m just one of those guys that plays with no seat belt,” Jones continued. “I’m not going to change the way I play for nobody. As long as it’s not hurting my team, then I’m cool. I know the difference between playing smart and reckless and doing dumb things. Hopefully that won’t happen no more.”
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Asked if he knew as soon as it happened that the incident was going to blow up, Jones took aim at the media.
“I really give a flat (expletive) what you guys think about me playing football,” he said. “As long as I’m playing 100 miles per hour and helping my team and not hurting my team, it never really comes up about, ‘what’s the media going to say?’ I already know what you guys are going to say. It is what it is. Anything I do you guys are going to magnify it to sell papers or blow something up. I’ve been through a lot of stuff in my life, and the last thing I’m worried about is what you guys are going to say about a play. You guys are going to take and twist everything you can to make a story.
“I just try to play within the rules and have fun,” he continued. “My life is content. I don’t worry about you guys. When I go home, I sleep good. I’m not out running folks over with cars or anything. This is my me time. This is the time where I can come over and enjoy myself. And then when I leave here I have to put the daddy hat back on. No yelling in the house. Taking the kids out. Daddy day Tuesday. As far as anything else goes, I can’t worry about that.
“Everything that you guys write is all connected to my past, which I am OK with that because I’m a man of truth and honesty. My past is my past. I can’t predict what you guys write. You guys get paid to sell newspapers. It is what it is. You can’t worry about everything people are going to say.”
Jones did allow that he was worried what a couple of people would say – his wife and daughters.
“The first thing I do is call my wife and see how the kids are reacting to things and how she’s reacting to how I was portrayed,” he said. “ I’m cool. I know me as a person. I hope everybody over here in this building knows me as a person.
“If you’re going to say ‘He’s never changed. Look at him.’ That was the headline of the paper. Oh they say he’s changed. He never changed. Really? On Sunday, when I get to be an animal, now I haven’t changed? Did you look at the whole play? It is what it is. I guess I’m an animal on Sunday. I guess all the hard work I’ve done just went out the window.”
Multiple published reports have indicated the NFL will not suspend Jones for the incident.
“Everybody’s trying to make something way more bigger than it is,” he said. “It’s always going to be magnified when I do it. I’m prepared for this. I’ve got a thick skin. I’ll get through this. It’ll be all right.
“I played a pretty good game and the main distraction was what happened on that play, not how good I played in the game,” Jones continued. “Everybody keeps talking about it even though Amari had four catches for 40 yards. If y’all are going to talk about something, let’s talk about the game.”
Jones led the Bengals with a career-high 10 tackles in the game to go along with a pass defended and a forced fumble that cost the Raiders a first down, setting up fourth and 1 instead when the game was still close at 10-0. The defense stopped Oakland on the fourth-down play.
“I guess the ball came my way a lot, not passes but as in running,” he said. “I was just trying to hustle to the ball and be better and do better for my team.”
Jones said he didn’t say anything to Cooper after the play or after the game.
“I don’t talk to people after the game or before the game,” he said. “I don’t have nothing to say to him. We’re not cool, he’s not my friend, I don’t know him. What do you want me to tell him, ‘Hey, good game’? Nah.
“I’m just trying to help my team win,” he added. “That’s all I’m trying to do. And take care of my family. If it’s anything else outside of those lines, that’s not what I’m with. But inside of those lines, that’s what I’m with. I come here every day. I work hard. Everybody’s trying to find something. I guess I gave them something. That’s my fault.”