Steelers offensive lineman Mike Adams isn't being asked anymore whether he likes playing right tackle or left tackle better. For the record, it's gotten to the point he's "...just circling through (right tackle) a little bit," according to Tribune Review reporter Mark Kaboly. He was put there with the first team offense in Thursday's practice, replacing Marcus Gilbert for a spell.
A year ago Sunday, Adams was stabbed in the abdomen following a confrontation with three men on Pittsburgh's South Side. The injury and subsequent surgery kept him out of the remainder of the Steelers' offseason program.
He would overcome it, though. He seemed to, anyway. The Steelers made a brief statement during last year's training camp when they moved Adams to left tackle, more or less declaring him their blindside blocker over Gilbert. That was possibly the only positive statement the team has made regarding Adams in the two seasons he's been with the team. And he would remain at left tackle for four games, losing all four of them, before the team made a desperation trade for Levi Brown during their Week 5 bye.
Brown would end up injured during warm-ups of the team's Week 6 game at the Jets, and Kelvin Beachum would assume the role for the remainder of the season. Adams did get one more start, a Week 14 loss to Miami, meaning the team is 0-5 in games where Adams started as its left tackle. To Adams' credit, he performed well against the Dolphins, his first left tackle action since being demoted, with a series of appearances as a third tight end in jumbo packages interspersed.
For all the negative attention Adams has gained with the team, even before he was drafted (he had to drive to Pittsburgh to personally request Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert not remove him from the team's draft board after failing a drug test at the 2012 NFL Scouting Combine), Adams now, writes Kaboly, is taking the approach of not looking in the rear view mirror.
It would appear he doesn't have much of a choice, but it's difficult to not consider it when assessing his long-term place on the team. He will likely enter training camp as a utility offensive tackle, and with two years left on his contract - the same as Beachum's - and with only one year remaining on Gilbert's deal, he not only has to keep his head on straight to maximize every opportunity he's given, but finally start climbing up to get out of the hole he dug himself all the way back in February of 2012.
Beachum isn't half the athlete Adams is, and that's the reason Adams was taken in the second round, and Beachum was taken in the seventh. Both players are on their third offensive line coach in their three professional seasons, so it stands to reason to think Adams will get a chance to operate with a clean slate at least with his position coach. But if he's seriously not looking at his past, he needs to at least remember how few of these chances there are left.