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Rick Stroud, Greg Auman and Matt Baker

Gaines Adams funeral a "celebration" of his life



Family, friends and just plain fans turned out in droves this afternoon here in Easley, S.C. to bid farewell during a funeral for former Bucs and Bears defensive end Gaines Adams.

Adams passed away in his hometown of Greenwood, S.C. on Sunday, but today’s “celebration” of his life, as many speakers referred to it, concentrated on how he was a committed friend, son, brother, father and teammate.

The Bucs and Bears attended after flying in on charter flights this morning. The Bucs were represented by numerous players, including all the members of the defensive line, with whom Adams was close. His position coach, Todd Wash, was among the speakers and joked about how bad the pair’s golf games were. But Wash was quite serious when he spoke of the serious conversations he had with Adams, most of which had nothing to do with football.

“We would sit and talk about our kids and how important our families were to us,” said Wash, who said his son and Adams’ son are close in age. “We didn’t love Gaines Adams as a football player. We loved him as a person.”

Among the remaining speakers were Bears coach Lovie Smith (Adams was traded to Chicago in October). The eulogy was given by Adams’ former Clemson coach, Tommy Bowden, at the request of the family with whom he remains close.

Bowden shared countless recollections, including how Adams had an ever-present smile, even at times that weren’t considered joyful.

“He smiled going to practice. He smiled at practice,” Bowden joked. “I thought something was wrong with him.”

Bowden also recalled how Adams once scored a touchdown against Wake Forest that enabled the Tigers to pull out an improbable victory and save his coach some significant grief.

“He probably added a couple years to my contract with that play versus Wake Forest,” Bowden said. “He outran the whole Wake Forest team. I think the only one who beat him to the end zone was me. I hugged him; I kissed him. I would have kissed him on the lips but he moved his head twice.”

For Bucs general manager Mark Dominik, it was meaningful to see so many members of the organization turn out.

“We’re very thankful for the players who attended and for the owners who gave us the ability to come here. It was important.”

Then he reflected on Adams’ career and the intense scrutiny he was under for most of his career and how trivial it all seems at a time like this.

“It’s difficult,” Dominik said. “We realize how hard we can be on a person. But in the end, you realize he’s just a person.”

[Last modified: Wednesday, May 26, 2010 3:54pm]


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