When sports figures go from a career of anonymity or ineptitude to sudden stardom, a lot of people in my business go looking for reasons.
Why has Eli Manning been largely average (and kind of dopey) for his entire career and yet strung together two of the most courageous postseasons in NFL history?
Why was Tommy Maddox a complete bust as a first round pick in Denver, and then out of nowhere has one good season in Pittsburgh AFTER selling insurance for a few years?
And seriously, what in the blue hell do we make of one game wonders like Larry Brown or Timmy Smith?
The fact of the matter is that sometimes there just are no good, tangible reasons for sudden impact by an athlete. It's the beautiful randomness that makes sports the ultimate reality show. We have no idea how or why these things are happening.
I am, however, a big believer in karma, in sports homeostasis, and in the natural balance of the sports world recalibrating itself at some point. When something happens for no good reason, oftentimes the market corrects itself. Put simply, what goes up, must come down, and in the end these outliers and their All-World performance can only be categorized as a "deal with the Sports Devil."
And if that's the case, then Jacoby Jones' pact with Sports Satan might have the most painful severance payment in the history of sports karma.
I think it's critical we understand how we arrived at this point, so let's recap, for just a moment, the last 16 months in the life of Jacoby Jones:
* After a five year career in Houston where he was best known for never improving as a wide receiver, getting pinched for a DWI, and committing the biggest gaffe in the short history of the Texans when he muffed a punt in the playoff loss to Baltimore, Jacoby Jones was released in May 2012.
* After signing with the Ravens shortly after his release from the Texans, Jones had a 2012 regular season that was a lot like his five seasons in Houston, making some impact in the return game, but showing minus skills and doing almost nothing as a wide receiver (30 catches).
* As soon as the calendar flipped to 2013, something happened. For three legacy changing plays, Jacoby Jones, morphed into a combination of Jerry Rice and Devin Hester -- the Hail Mary pass against Denver to tie that playoff game at 35, the Super Bowl bomb from Joe Flacco right before the half to give the Ravens a 21-3 lead, and the 108 yard kickoff return to start the second half of the Super Bowl and give the Ravens a 28-6 lead.
* It all culminated with Jacoby Jones' being named the 87th best player in the league in the annual NFL Top 100 Players poll, a sporty accomplishment considering Jacoby was never even the 87th best player at his own position. Jacoby Jones' star had risen, but anyone with half a brain knew that karma, that insidious bitch, was waiting around the corner to bring him back down to earth, waiting to belt him in the face with her restorative hammer and return the corner of the sports universe occupied by Jacoby Jones to the clown show that it should be.
The homeostasis storm clouds had been gathering for the last few weeks, what with Jacoby sustaining a knee injury in the season opener courtesy of some "keystone cops" level friendly fire from rookie teammate Brynden Trawick as Jones was calling for a fair catch.
However, karma's ultimate revenge came on Sunday night, ironically after a game in which Jaocby Jones' Ravens teammates had just beaten his old Texans teammates by a score of 30-9. Jones didn't play in the game, but he did show up ready to play Sunday night at teammate Bryant McKinnie's birthday party.
Now, as a brief aside, if the Pavlovian reaction that you're getting to the four words "Bryant McKinnie's birthday party" is some sort of tingly anticipation, then your body is functioning properly, because Bryant McKinnie has an unhealthy love for strippers. How unhealthy? Well, unhealthy enough to where stories surfaced last year of a $375,000 lawsuit against McKinnie for charges rung up at South Florida strip clubs. The lawsuit was reportedly filed by the father of rapper Trick Daddy, who for simplicity's sake will heretofore be referred to as "Trick Granddaddy."
Also, going back to his Vikings days, McKinnie was a central figure in the 2005 Minnesota Vikings boat party scandal, a booze and stripper fueled sex romp involving a handful of Vikings players, various strippers and hookers, a couple boats, and dozens of dildos that was salacious enough to warrant its own Wikipedia page.
In short, if the wait for Jacoby Jones' fall from grace feels like some sort of karmic constipation, then Bryant McKinnie was the giant laxative we've all been waiting for.
So Sunday night was McKinnie's birthday party, and in the one responsible move of the evening, he decided to rent a party bus for transportation (although I would submit that it may have had more to do with the bus' ability to transport dozens of ample booty "performers" than its DUI prevention capability.)
Among those on the party bus were Jacoby Jones and a stripper by the name of Sweet Pea, who quite frankly doesn't appear to be all that sweet.
I don't know if it's because Sweet Pea had Jones on her fantasy team last season or if improperly conjugated verbs make her angry, but somewhere along the way Sunday evening, Pea and Jones apparently grew to dislike each other.
Such mutual disdain when manifested at, say, noon on a Tuesday can often be resolved through reasonable, rational conversation.
Such mutual disdain manifested at 3:00 a.m. after a night at the Opera Ultra Lounge is usually resolved with one party getting cracked with a champagne bottle and wallowing in a pool of his or her own blood.
And, according to TMZ, that's exactly what happened:
One eyewitness tells us he saw a bottle being swung at Jacoby Jones -- it connected with his head and hurt him. We're told an ambulance was called "for a bleeding male" but he was not taken to the hospital.
Our sources say a stripper named Sweet Pea is the one who hit Jacoby with a gigantic Ace of Spades bottle and this may have triggered the brawl. We're told the bottle smashed over his head and he was "bleeding everywhere."
We're told Jacoby's friends tried to retaliate against Sweet Pea but Bryant McKinnie tried to stop him, and a fight broke out between the friend and Bryant.
If there is a place in this world that is the polar opposite to "widely adored Super Bowl hero," it's probably somewhere at the bottom of a pool of your own blood with shards of a shattered Ace of Spades bottle embedded in your skull and a stripper named Sweet Pea standing over you like it's the end of an episode of Monday Night RAW.
In other words, the sports gods finally crossed that "Jacoby Jones thing" off of their to-do list and sent him swiftly and violently back from whence he came, presumably with the Fastpass from the McKinnie Express still dangling from his back pocket.
(In other news, the Cincinnati Bengals have given Sweet Pea a second round grade and added her to their list of draft eigible three techniques in the 2014 NFL Draft.)
From playoff goat in Houston to Super Bowl savior in Baltimore, from clownish sideshow to dancing king, it's been an unbelievable ride for Jacoby Jones this past year. It really has. In fact, if Jacoby Jones were to write a book on the last two years of his life, I would purchase it, but on one condition -- it would have to be an audio book read by Jacoby Jones.
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And as we move to Jacoby Jones' next chapter, all we know is it won't be nearly as interesting as the last chapter. How can it be? I mean, party bus, Ace of Spades bottles, Sweet Pea? It's impossible.
So Jacoby Jones will play out the rest of his contract with the Baltimore Ravens this season, but his contract with Sports Satan? Well, that ended on Sunday night.
Sweet Pea just delivered the buyout.
Listen to Sean Pendergast on 1560 Yahoo! Sports Radio from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. weekdays and nationally on the Yahoo! Sports Radio network Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon CST. Also, follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/SeanCablinasian.