Reaction to Adams' death is more than just hollow words
You've by now heard and read a lot of reaction to Gaines Adams' untimely death.
Friends and teammates of the Bucs' 2007 first-round pick said all kinds of nice things, that he was humble and caring and hard-working. You know, the kind of things people always say about individuals after they die.
But before you go dismissing it as just talk, know this: It's 100 percent true.
Those of us who covered Adams' career wrote a lot of things about his play, much of it critical. But you will have a hard time finding anyone in the media who spent considerable time with Adams accuse him of being a jerk. That's because he was anything but that.
He was humble. He was caring. And he was hard-working. He cared about football more than you'll probably ever know. That's why his shortcomings were not the result of disinterest.
Consider this: Both former defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin and former defensive line coach Larry Coyer on separate occasions told me Adams was placing way too much pressure on himself during his final two full seasons with the Bucs. He knew full well the immense expectations that he was being paid handsomely to live up to. But rather than ignore them, Adams truly wanted to meet reach those standards. Being good at his craft was very important to him.
And something else that's very telling about his character is this: Despite many times when he was asked very probing questions about his performance -- questions that would prompt many players to react in a confrontational manner -- Adams never snapped back at a reporter. He answered in his usual soft-spoken manner and moved on to the next one.
How Gaines Adams the football player will be remembered really isn't that important at this point. But when you hear those who loved him talk about him as a person, you can rest assured you're getting an absolute honest assessment of Gaines Adams the man.