Jamal Adams was a little late to a Zoom news conference with reporters who cover the Seahawks on Thursday.
The reason? He wanted to make sure his hotel room was as tidy as can be — which meant quickly making the bed — to make the best possible first impression.
Thursday was the beginning of a relationship that Adams says he hopes will last the rest of his NFL playing career.
“The plan is to retire here,” said Adams, a 24-year-old safety who was dealt by the Jets to Seattle on Saturday for a package that includes the Seahawks’ first-round picks in 2021 and 2022 and veteran safety Bradley McDougald.
Adams was traded in large part because he was locked in a dispute over his contract with the Jets — he has two years remaining on his current deal.
All indications are that the Seahawks will stick to their usual routine and will wait to discuss a new contract with Adams until after the 2020 season — Seattle has long had a policy of not redoing players’ deals until they enter the final season of their contract. And the trade was made with no promise of a new contract.
But while Adams basically deflected questions about the specifics of his contract situation, he made it clear he expects to be a Seahawk for the long haul.
“Those things will take care of itself,” Adams said. “I’m so very excited to be here. … We’ll worry about that when the time comes.”
Here are four more things that stood out from Adams’ 38-minute meeting with the media Thursday.
“Tears of joy”
The Seahawks and Jets had held talks for a few weeks about a trade for Adams, and he said he got the inkling on Friday, the day before the deal was finally made, that something was about to happen.
“I was really stressed,” he said. ” … I asked God to place me where I needed to be, whether that was go to back to New York or whether that’s to be traded. But this is my calling, man, and I’m here to stay.”
Adams said he slept in Saturday and had five missed calls from his agent telling him what might happen. Finally, he heard the word a little later but was also told not to tell anyone.
“When I got the call, honestly I broke down in tears of joy,” he said. “A lot of mixed emotions. I’m gonna miss a lot of guys over there. But at the end of the day, man, this is my calling and this is where I need to be. “
Taking the high road
The trade Saturday came a day after Adams was quoted extensively in a New York Daily News article lobbing heavy criticism at Jets coach Adam Gase and general manager Joe Douglas. Adams specifically accused Douglas of reneging on a promise to redo his contract this offseason.
But asked about the Jets on Thursday, Adams decided to leave any grievances in the past.
“I have nothing but love and respect for a lot of those guys over there in that organization,” Adams said. “I wish them well, I really do. I know a lot of people might, you know, think it’s not coming from the heart but it really is.
” … I’m focused on being a Seattle Seahawk. I’m at peace with it, you know, we have to move on and you know it’s part of the business. A lot of those guys and coaches reached out and they say they’re gonna miss me and they love me. … I have no hate in my heart heart towards anybody to Joe to Adam Gase, it doesn’t matter, I really wish them well.”
Adams also said he would dispute any perception about his character that anyone might draw from his unhappiness in New York and subsequent trade.
“I’m here to play ball,” Adams said. “I’m not a distraction in the locker room. I’ve never been in trouble in my life. … You know, growing up, I just never had anybody that was my teammate, or that knows me, they will tell you, man, I’m far from a problem. All I want to do is win.”
Wagner is a “cheat code”
While Adams had never been to Seattle before landing Monday night to take (and pass) his physical Tuesday, he already has some good relationships with a few prominent Seahawks.
Adams has known middle linebacker Bobby Wagner for a few years, getting to know each other at the Pro Bowl and for events for Jordan Brand (for which each is a representative), including a trip a few years ago to Monaco.
Adams said he’s already had some long talks with Wagner and excitedly called it “a cheat code” to finally get to play with him, a reference to a video game term for gaining an unfair advantage.
Adams also said he’s known Quandre Diggs — who he will now team with at safety — since he took a recruiting trip to Texas in 2013. Diggs, then in his junior year at Texas, served as the host for Adams.
“We’ve been close ever since,” Adams said, saying he talks to Diggs almost daily. “He’s like a brother to me.”
The trade for Adams caps what has been a rapid transformation of the Seahawks secondary over the last three seasons as the founding members of the Legion of Boom moved on.
Adams said he used to watch the LOB avidly and was “inspired by energy and love and passion that they played with.”
Now, he said, he’s hoping he can help a revamped Seahawks can “create our own legacy. … All we can do is control what we can control and write our own story and go from there.”
Justice for Breonna Taylor, and a dedication
Before Adams answered his first question Thursday, he made a plea for justice for Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old Black woman killed by Louisville police. “We need to arrest the murderers of Breonna Taylor,” he said.
Adams ended with a passionate answer about his decision to dedicate the 2020 season to Bryce Wisdom, a 17-year-old high school football player from San Antonio who died Sunday of liver cancer. Wisdom was described as a diehard Seahawks fan.
Adams said he got a call from a former assistant coach at LSU who reached out to Adams and told him that Bryce was “a big Seattle Seahawks fan and a big Jamal Adams fan and all he wanted to do was meet me and kind of take a picture.”
Adams called Wisdom on Sunday shortly before he died and told him “keep fighting, champ. I’m praying for you.”
Adams said it was “a tough call” to make knowing Bryce was near death.
“I told him I’ll always be thinking about him,” Adams said.