NFL

Jamal Adams Became a Safety Because of His Dad’s Life-Altering Injury in the NFL

Through his first three seasons in the NFL, Jamal Adams has become one of the best safeties in the entire NFL with the New York Jets. Football actually runs in his blood as his dad, George Adams, also played in the NFL. Although, had it not been for a life-altering injury George suffered in his career, Jamal might be playing another position.

Jamal Adams is one of the best safeties in the NFL

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Before entering the NFL, Jamal had an excellent career with the LSU Tigers. He earned Freshman All-American honors in 2014 from Sporting News, Scout.com, and 247Sports as he had 66 total tackles and five passes defended, according to LSU’s team site.

Jamal continued to find success in 2015 for the Tigers, earning Second-Team All-SEC honors from the Coaches and AP. He ultimately had 67 total tackles, four interceptions, and 10 passes defended. Then in 2016, Jamal earned First-Team All-American honors from CBS Sports and Pro Football Focus as he recorded 76 total tackles, one interception, and five passes defended.

His play in college led to the New York Jets selecting him with the sixth overall pick in the 2017 NFL draft. Jamal had an excellent rookie season too as he had 83 total tackles, two sacks, and six passes defended. However, in the last two seasons, he has been one of the best safeties in the NFL. 

In 2018, Jamal earned his first Pro Bowl selection with 115 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, one interception, 12 passes defended, and three forced fumbles. Last season, Jamal not only earned Pro Bowl honors, but he was also a First-Team All-Pro selection. In 14 games, he had 75 total tackles, 6.5 sacks, one interception, seven passes defended, and two forced fumbles.

George Adams was a first-round draft pick

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In college, George Adams was a stellar running back at Kentucky. He led the team in rushing and all-purpose yards as a sophomore, junior, and senior, according to UK’s team site. George earned First-Team All-SEC honors as a senior and finished his career with 2,468 rushing yards on 638 attempts.

George ended up going to the New York Giants with the 19th overall pick in the 1985 NFL draft. He ran for 498 yards and two touchdowns in his rookie season, in addition to catching 31 passes for 389 yards and two touchdowns, but that was the best season of his career statistically. 

After missing the 1986 season, George only ran for 274 yards total for the Giants in three seasons combined from 1987 through 1989. He then played in 16 games in 1990 with the New England Patriots and only ran for 111 yards on 28 attempts. George only played in two games with the Patriots in 1991.

George didn’t want Jamal to play running back after his life-altering injury

Jamal Adams is one of the best safeties in the NFL. Had it not been for his dad, George's, injury, though, he might not be playing safety.
Jamal Adams of the New York Jets in action against the Oakland Raiders in 2019. | Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

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In 1986 at a training camp practice with the New York Giants, George chipped his pelvis, according to ESPN. He was supposed to help lead Bill Parcells’ offense but ended up missing the season with his hip injury.

George was never the same running back after that. He ended up getting two hip replacements and still walks with a limp, according to ESPN. This led to him switching Jamal’s position.

While Jamal was in pee wee football, George, who was the coach of his team, switched him from running back to safety. 

“I didn’t want him to play on that side of the ball … because of me,” George said, according to ESPN. “I had two hip replacements and I’m still in pain every day. You can see one of my legs is shorter than the other. I didn’t want him to take licks, I wanted him to give the licks.”

Now, the rest is history. 

Jamal Adams is one of the best safeties in the NFL. Had it not been for his dad’s injury, though, he would maybe be playing on the other side of the ball.

NFL stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference