The Pittsburgh Steelers already had plenty of reasons to fear serious injuries affecting their 2013 NFL regular season, but they never expected their starting right tackle to land in the hospital before they ever made it to training camp.
Adams was stabbed while the victim of an alleged robbery attempt, which left him with a lacerated colon. His assailants are currently being held for trial.
Original diagnoses estimated his recovery time, which did not include the normal NFL player's training schedule needs, to extend beyond the time remaining before training camp was set to open in late July. Adams remained optimistic about his ability to not only report to camp on time, but to also be ready to participate at full health.
When the Steelers finally assembled at St. Vincent College in Latrobe, Pa, Adams proved he was serious about his belief in himself and his recovery. His teammates and those in attendance have been outspoken of his preparedness and strength. While players like Heath Miller, Alameda Ta'amu and David Johnson will begin their preseason on the PUP list, Adams will begin his on the field with his fellow offensive linemen.
Head coach Mike Tomlin was asked during his impromptu press conference upon the conclusion of Monday's first padded training camp practice session about how he felt about Adams being able to be healthy by the beginning of camp after suffering an injury which very well could have been life-threatening. Tomlin did feel Adams was fortunate, but not quite in the way the inquisitor had originally intended.
"I'm not very sentimental. It was good for him to be here, 'cause we're working."
While certainly Tomlin the man would normally be concerned with the well-being of his fellow co-workers, Tomlin the football coach sends a very clear message with his seemingly cold quote. Players have to work to earn their place.
In a season where the Steelers have brought in a new offensive line coach and seeks to implement a new outside zone run blocking scheme, it becomes crucial for offensive linemen to be present and able to participate. Only so much can be learned from studying a playbook. Offensive line play relies on chemistry which can only be found on the field of play.
The team found its greatest rushing successes of 2012 while Adams was on the field at right tackle filling in for an injured Marcus Gilbert, who has moved to left tackle this season to take the place of Max Starks who left in free-agency for the San Diego Chargers. Both Gilbert and Adams ended the 2012 season on IR and will need to prove to the organization they can stay healthy for an entire season. They can only do so by being healthy and on the field.
Adams still has some work ahead of him physically, as he continues to regain core strength, but he has proven he did not allow himself to be a victim of circumstance and is willing to do whatever is necessary to be on the field with his teammates as they pursue the team's seventh Super Bowl championship.
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