Adams hoping to return to Bears
by bob legere
Eight-year veteran nose tackle Anthony Adams has been around long enough to know what he needs to be doing this time of year to prepare his 30-year-old body for another season in the NFL trenches.
But this year is different for a lot of reasons, starting with the lockout that has put the off-season programs of all 32 teams on hold. On top of that, since Adams is an unrestricted free agent he doesn’t really have a team. The free agency period will not begin until there is labor peace, so for now Adams is in limbo.
“It’s just kind of awkward for us because we’re used to being on a set structure,” Adams said. “I understand how hard I need to work and what I need to do. We’re all professionals, and we have to handle ourselves as such.”
Adams always has, on and off the field, which is why he was honored as the Bears’ recipient of the Ed Block Courage Award Tuesday afternoon at Maryville Academy in Des Plaines. The award goes to a community role model from each NFL team who symbolizes professionalism, strength and dedication. Winners are ambassadors for victims of abuse, violence and neglect, especially children.
The Bears were unable to reach a contract agreement with Adams before the lockout, but he hopes to continue his work on and off the field in the Chicago area. Just like the nearly 500 other free agents, though, he’s in a holding pattern.
“I love it here,” he said. “I love the fans, my kids were born here, and it’s been great. It’s been fun for me. I’ve got great teammates, great coaches, and (there are) no egos. It just seems like we all get along.”
Adams started all 16 games last season for the second time in his career and led the Bears’ interior linemen with 36 tackles. The Bears would like to have Adams back, but they weren’t prepared to make a market-setting offer before the lockout.
“He’s a guy that shows leadership on and off the field,” coach Lovie Smith said. “You know what you’re going to get each time he goes out on the football field.”
For now, the most Adams can do for the team is offer guidance to younger players who may need direction and motivation during these uncertain times.
“Nobody’s telling you what to do, and you feel like you’re alone in this situation, but I always give my phone number to everyone,” Adams said, before taking a playful jab at Smith as the coach walked past. “They can call me or, if there’s a gray-haired coach out there by the name of Lovie Smith, they can call him.”
The call Adams is waiting for is the one announcing the end of the lockout. Until then, he has been working out and family to keep himself busy.
“I got a little (toddler) boy (Anthony III), I’ve got a little (baby) girl (Ameena), and my wife is pregnant,” he said. “We’ve got another girl on the way, so I’m going to have my hands full. Hopefully everything will work itself out.”