Gooddell can start cleaning up the NFL by Pacman Jones his walking papers. Shows what kind of trash Jerry Jones is too. Can't see Rooney doing that ...
By DAVE ANDERSON
Published: June 8, 2008 New York Times
Adam Jones, the notorious cornerback known as Pacman, is running around a football field again, but Tommy Urbanski isn’t running anywhere. He isn’t even walking and, barring a medical miracle, he never will.
Jones was suspended all of last season for violations of the N.F.L.’s personal-conduct policy even before his Dec. 6 guilty plea to conspiracy to commit disorderly conduct stemming from his role in a Las Vegas strip club shooting. But last week, Commissioner Roger Goodell said he would allow Jones to attend the Dallas Cowboys’ off-season workouts and their training camp next month, pending a Sept. 1 decision on his reinstatement.
“Out of everything I’ve been through, that’s the past,” Jones told reporters at the Cowboys’ complex Wednesday. “I’m going to talk about the future.”
He didn’t mention Urbanski’s future. On the darker side of that shooting, Urbanski is a paraplegic in a wheelchair, a bullet still lodged in his spinal cord. Urbanski, then 44, a former 330-pound pro wrestler who grew up in Commack, N.Y., had just come on duty as the strip club’s night manager at about 4:45 a.m. on Feb. 19, 2007, during the N.B.A. All-Star weekend. Jones, the police said, had showered more than 40 strippers on stage with $81,000 in cash, inciting a melee that led to the shooting outside the club of Urbanski and two others, who sustained less serious wounds.
“From my belly button down, I’ve got no movement and no feeling,” Urbanski said over the telephone from Nevada. “My wife, Kathy, and I are living in an extended-stay hotel while our home is being retrofitted for me.”
His voice sounded strong and hearty. He said he was able to drive a van, fitted to accommodate his wheelchair, and he spoke of workouts geared to strengthen his upper body and how he’s going to “live my life.” But he’s angry that it took Jones more than a year to identify a suspected shooter.
“I just got a quick look at him, a black guy behind a palm tree in the dark,” Urbanski said.
The shooter got away before the police arrived. Jones insisted for months that he didn’t know the shooter’s identity. But in April, he picked Arvin Edwards, 29, of Renton, Wash., out of a Tacoma police lineup. Edwards, in prison there for domestic abuse, has been charged with three counts of attempted murder and three counts of battery.
Edwards, in an interview with a television station in Nashville, denied participating in the shooting; he also denied receiving a reported $15,000 in extortion money from Jones. He added that Jones was protecting the actual shooter in order not to be involved in the charges.
“Our two witnesses will know if this Edwards guy was the shooter,” Urbanski said. “They were less than 10 feet away from the guy when he started shooting. They got a good look at him. They’ll know if this Edwards guy was or was not the guy.”
The Urbanskis have filed lawsuits against Jones, the N.F.L., the Tennessee Titans and the Harlem Knights, the Houston-based promoters who rented the Minxx Gentlemen’s Club during the All-Star weekend. They’re living mostly on Kathy’s salary as an elementary school teacher and his workmen’s-compensation-disability benefits.
“I hold the N.F.L. and the Tennessee Titans responsible,” Kathy Urbanski said. “Pacman had 10 prior incidents. They were negligent in not disciplining him. I’d like to sue his college, West Virginia, and his Atlanta schools, too. They created a monster. My husband can’t walk because of it and he almost died because of it.”
Jones, traded to the Cowboys in April, has a reported four-year, $13.3 million contract, but no guaranteed money. If reinstated, he would make $700,000 this season. The deal is backloaded with $7.25 million due in the final year. Urbanski, meanwhile, must wait in his wheelchair for the lawsuits to crawl through the courts.
“Tommy’s up and down,” Kathy Urbanski said. “He’s mourning the loss of his legs. When he dreams, he only dreams of himself walking; he’s never in a wheelchair. I’m told his only hope to walk again is stem-cell research or having a computer chip installed below his belly button, but both of those are probably a long way off.
“But he doesn’t feel sorry for himself, he’s more grateful he’s alive,” she added. “His biggest fear was when he felt himself go down, he thought he’d bleed to death in the parking lot. He told somebody to tell me, ‘I love her and not to blame herself.’ The bullet introduced bacteria into his lungs, and he actually died. He had to be resuscitated.”
Paralysis has jeopardized some marriages, but Tommy and Kathy Urbanski, together for 10 years in Las Vegas, sounded devoted to each other.
“I’ve got a great wife, great friends,” Tommy Urbanski said. “I never wanted to be a millionaire, I just wanted to have a wife who’s my best friend. And I do.”