For­get the tweet, Adams says he wants to stay with Gang Green for life

New York Daily News - - SPORTS - MANISH MEHTA JETS

He is a self-de­scribed sore loser. He is pas­sion­ate, self­less and gen­uine. He dreams big and wants ev­ery­one around him to dream big too. Ja­mal Adams is the heart and soul of the Jets, an al­pha male who has wel­comed the chal­lenge of turn­ing around a way­ward fran­chise the only way he knows how: By be­ing him­self.

Some­times that means say­ing some­thing not quite per­fectly or caus­ing a stir on so­cial me­dia due to what he play­fully refers to as “Twit­ter fin­gers.” Ex­hale, Jets fans. This guy wants to make it crys­tal clear that he’s one of you.

“I would love to be a Jet for life… and fin­ish my ca­reer here,” Adams told the Daily News in a quiet mo­ment on Thurs­day. “God will­ing, that’s def­i­nitely the plan…. That would be a dream come true. There’s not that many guys that have played this game who have stuck with one team. That would be an honor. I would love to.”

Adams made news two days af­ter an ugly loss to the Dol­phins by “lik­ing” a tweet from Calvin Watkins of The Ath­letic in Dal­las: “If I’m the Cowboys, and I’m not, I give Ja­mal Adams what­ever he wants if he be­comes a free agent in 2020.”

“My hand slipped, dude,” cracked Adams, who grew up just out­side Dal­las. “I was read­ing it…. I had Twit­ter fin­gers. But no, hon­estly, I liked the tweet be­cause (Watkins) saw my value and I just re­spected that. So that’s re­ally why I liked it. At the end of the day, I love be­ing a part of the Jets. I love be­ing here. And I wouldn’t trade it for the world.”

Adams’ “like” pre­dictably was met with mean tweets from some frus­trated fans, who know deep down that the sec­ond-year safety is a crit­i­cal piece to this green-and-white puz­zle. (He’s un­der con­tract through 2020 with a likely fifth-year op­tion in 2021).

He’s been a leader on and off the field. His skill set is ev­i­dent on Sun­days, but there’s an­other el­e­ment to the 23year-old’s makeup that is help­ing move this fran­chise in the right di­rec­tion.

Adams’ pas­sion­ate post-game ad­mis­sion that “I’m sick of los­ing” and “It pisses me off ev­ery time” and “I’m not a loser” was only part of the story af­ter Gang Green’s 13-6 loss in Mi­ami dropped them to 3-6 en­ter­ing this week­end’s game against the Bills.

Be­hind closed doors, Adams was brought to tears af­ter the Jets’ third con­sec­u­tive loss.

“I cried af­ter the last loss,” Adams said. “I cried in the locker room…. It’s not boo-hoo cry­ing. I’m just pissed off. I’m sad. Just emo­tional. You go out there and ev­ery­body’s putting it on the line and some things just don’t work out in your fa­vor. I’ve al­ways felt like I’ve been sec­ond in my life this whole time. Com­ing up short. I’ve made goals in my life… I just haven’t achieved all of them…. But def­i­nitely af­ter a tough loss – or losses — I cry, man. I ain’t gonna lie to you. It’s frus­trat­ing. I have no shame at all.”

Adams’ bravado is an im­por­tant part of what has got­ten him this far, but there’s much more to him. His team­mates grav­i­tate to­ward this guy with just 25 NFL games on his re­sume for a rea­son. He un­der­stands peo­ple. He’s gen­uinely un­selfish. The greater good mat­ters most to him.

“That shows you how much he cares,” vet­eran wide re­ceiver Jer­maine Kearse said of Adams’ words af­ter the lat­est de­feat. “I like play­ing with peo­ple who care.”

Adams is a fran­chise changer in ev­ery way.

If the Jets could clone him, there would be a locker room filled of dudes wear­ing No. 33. He is one of the best things to hap­pen to this or­ga­ni­za­tion in a very long time.

Jets coaches – and coaches across the league — have pub­licly and pri­vately raved about him since the mo­ment that Gang Green had the wis­dom and fore­sight to take him with the No. 6 over­all pick in the 2017 draft. It was a bril­liant de­ci­sion for an or­ga­ni­za­tion that frankly hasn’t made too many bril­liant de­ci­sions for the bet­ter part of a half cen­tury.

How much of an im­pact has Adams made so far?

My un­der­stand­ing is that there have been times when Adams has held team­mates – and coaches – ac­count­able at half­time. He has a unique way of get­ting his points across in a con­struc­tive man­ner. His words, how­ever, don’t di­vide. They gal­va­nize.

When a frus­trated Robby An­der­son threw the ball at the ref­eree in the wan­ing mo­ments of a Week 7 loss to the Vikings, Adams tai­lored words of en­cour­age­ment to best get through to his team­mate on the side­line.

Adams has a gift to push the right but­tons that he traces to his par­ents’ out­spo­ken and truth­ful mind­sets.

“I never want to tear any­body down, be­cause I would never want any­one to tear me down,” Adams said. “My mom al­ways taught me, if you don’t have any­thing nice to say, don’t say it at all. There’s dif­fer­ent ways to come at some­body. Ev­ery­body comes from dif­fer­ent back­grounds. Ev­ery­body takes crit­i­cism dif­fer­ently. So, you got to know your team­mates, be­cause if you come at some­body that doesn’t like to be screamed at or joked at in front of ev­ery­body, they might take it a cer­tain way and shut down.

“It’s all about pick­ing ev­ery­body up and in­spir­ing,” he con­tin­ued. “That’s what I shoot for…. Dur­ing a game, you don’t want to ever bring some­body’s con­fi­dence down. It’s al­ready hard out there. It’s al­ready chaos…. That is never a goal of mine. You can al­ways find a pos­i­tive out of a neg­a­tive.”

Adams’ value goes far be­yond his 63 tack­les, eight pass de­flec­tions, two forced fum­bles, two sacks and in­ter­cep­tion this sea­son. He is a men­ace on the field who needs to be ac­counted for on ev­ery snap, but his strong con­sti­tu­tion has ev­ery­one in­side the build­ing ex­cited about how he can help ev­ery­one else.

“I love the Jets,” he said.

Adams has em­braced the re­spon­si­bil­ity of rais­ing the bar here with the eye on some­thing spe­cial.

“I dream big,” he said. “I’m am­bi­tious. I feel that day will come when ev­ery­body’s re­ally re­ally happy. I dream about it ev­ery day. I hon­estly had a dream about it (Wed­nes­day) night. I had a great dream. It’s not al­ways go­ing to be a thun­der­storm around here. It’s go­ing to change. Ob­vi­ously, fans have been up­set. It’s been a minute. But it’s go­ing to change. I strongly be­lieve that.”

Ja­mal Adams has a way of mak­ing ev­ery­body be­lieve.


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