FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – The first person that Jamal Adams spoke to after learning he made his first Pro Bowl was his father, and neither man could hide their emotions.
The Jets’ safety has a very close relationship with his father, former Giant and Patriots running back George Adams. Jamal said it was important to him to make the Pro Bowl to honor his father.
“I had a moment with my father,” Adams said after practice Wednesday. “He called me. He was definitely tearing up and he was happy for me. I was tearing up a little bit. I cried a little bit later just at my house by myself. It was just an honor, a dream come true and I’m excited for it.”
George Adams was a first-round draft pick of the Giants in 1985. He spent five years with them and two with New England. But he suffered a hip injury before his second season that limited him and eventually cut short his career.
When the Jets drafted Jamal Adams in the first round last year, he looked at it as somewhat poetic that he would play in the same city his father did and wanted to make sure he enjoyed the individual success his father couldn’t.
“It was very special because his career was cut short due to injury,” Adams said. “Honestly, I felt like me being drafted by the Jets, it was my calling to come here, where he left off and take off from there.
“He always wanted to make the Pro Bowl and do great things. It didn’t happen that way., I did it for my family. I did it for myself. I did it for this team. I’m excited for it but I’m also excited to have two teammates go down there and do the same thing that I’m doing.”
Adams will be joined on the AFC Pro Bowl team by kicker Jason Myers and return specialist Andre Roberts. They’ve both had terrific seasons, but Adams has established himself as a cornerstone on the defense and one of the NFL’s best safeties.
He’s second on the Jets behind linebacker Avery Williamson with 94 tackles. Adams leads the team with eight tackles for loss and three forced fumbles. He’s fifth among safeties in tackles, leads them in forced fumbles and is tied for the most sacks at 3.5.
None of this is surprising to his coaches.
Todd Bowles named Adams a captain this year and has praised his leadership throughout this 4-10 season. Secondary coach Dennard Wilson lauds Adams for his work ethic and doing all the extra things to become one of the best at his position.
Wilson said he appealed to Adams by telling him that every day he’s on the field, whether it’s a practice or a game, he’s interviewing for a job.
“He interviews well every day,” Wilson said. “The little things you guys don’t see, the information we give him, the keys, the tips, he takes it, he runs with it. He looks at the film. He studies it and he reconfirms what we teach. His opportunity came, and he took advantage of it. He proved himself. And he reproved himself over and over this year.
“Last year, he played with energy but didn’t always believe what he saw. This offseason and throughout the course of the season he found it works. That’s why you see him – he’s ahead of everything.”
The Jets play Adams all over the field because of his speed, aggressiveness and versatility. Patriots coach Bill Belichick said Adams is like a linebacker. Adams also is fueled by criticism or failure.
He struggled defending tight ends last year, so he worked on and has shown marked improvement. Adams also made good on a tweet he made about a year, when he didn’t make the Pro Bowl as a rookie. He tweeted, “I won’t miss another Pro Bowl. Believe that.”
He said it was that important to him because of his father.
“One-hundred percent,” Adams said. “I definitely did it for my father. My mother as well, and she’s definitely proud of me. My father and I have special relationship. I know he was excited.”