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How the Bucs rewarded Andrew Adams for those three interceptions

The Bucs celebrated their 24-17 win over the Panthers by presenting safety Andrew Adams with three games balls, one for each of his three interceptions of Cam Newton.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Andrew Adams (26) intercepts a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) during the fourth quarter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on December 2, 2018. The Bucs won 24 to 17. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive back Andrew Adams (26) intercepts a pass intended for Carolina Panthers wide receiver Curtis Samuel (10) during the fourth quarter of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers game against the Carolina Panthers at Raymond James Stadium on December 2, 2018. The Bucs won 24 to 17. [MONICA HERNDON | Times]
Published Dec. 3, 2018
Updated Dec. 3, 2018

TAMPA — Inside the Bucs' locker room following their 24-17 win over Carolina, coach Dirk Koetter presented safety Andrew Adams with three game balls, one for each of his three interceptions Sunday.

"It's huge," Adams said Monday about the post-game celebration. "It being my first year in Tampa, the team has really embraced me. It's been like family. It's just great and the team camaraderie is huge. I love it."

Adams became just the third Bucs player to intercept three passes in a game — Ronde Barber did it twice — and the first since 2009. That's not bad for a player who didn't have a job when this season began before signing with the Bucs in late-September. Adams' role has grown on a secondary hit by injuries, and he played a season-high 32 snaps.

Adams entered Sunday with just one career interception in 38 NFL games, but said his performance wasn't a surprise.

"I prepare and expect to play big every game," Adams said. "This was a very big game. But as a professional, that's what you prepare for."

The Bucs continued to use Adams in a variety of spots. On Sunday, he played mostly at free safety, but also lined up closer to the line of scrimmage in a quasi-linebacker role in the Bucs' six-defensive package and once in coverage in the slot.

"It's fun," he said. "I like being around the line (of scrimmage) and being active. … That kind of helps. At the beginning of the game, I wasn't playing safety, so being on the side when it's not third down and not on the field, I can see really everything that they're doing, so it kind of gave me a different perspective."

As for those three game balls, Adams said he'll have them painted and has a place to display them in his new home in Atlanta.

"I've find a nice spot for those to go in the man cave," he said.

Contact Eduardo A. Encina at eencina@tampabay.com. Follow @EddieInTheYard.