Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams is set to make his return to action after 13 months out of action due to injury when his side face the New York Giants on Monday night; watch the Seahawks at the Giants live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.15am in the early hours of Tuesday
Monday 2 October 2023 16:08, UK
A long and winding road to recovery is set to reach completion on Monday night when Jamal Adams makes his return from injury for the Seattle Seahawks in their clash against the New York Giants.
The Seahawks safety has been sidelined since tearing his left quad tendon in the second quarter of Seattle's opening game in the 2022 season against the Denver Broncos. It would compile with a torn labrum suffered in Week 12 of the 2021 campaign in prolonging Adams' injury woes, while resulting in a gruelling rehabilitation period he feared he might not make it through.
Adams admitted he was in "denial" during the immediate aftermath of the injury, struggling to accept the reality he was staring at surgery along with a lengthy spell away from the field.
"Going back into the locker room and seeing my family, that was a tough time," he said this week. "When my family came down, and obviously getting the news. Pete came in there, everybody came in at halftime, I'm bawling. It was tough. It was tough.
"I thought about retiring, I thought about a lot of things. 'Is this going to be it for me? I don't know.' But eventually, after I got that MRI, I told myself I'm going to be back.
"I didn't know when, or how, but I was going to figure it out. I knew that if I kept my faith, and kept the ones around me that really love and support me, I knew I could make it out."
Adams recalls spending more than 20 weeks in a cast, during which time he could not shower by himself, get out of bed by himself or even go to the toilet by himself while being in a wheelchair.
It would become one of the most taxing and challenging mental hurdles in the career of a player previously regarded among the very elite in his position and the entire league.
"I was considering everything at the moment. I was in a dark place," he said. "Not on anything suicidal, but definitely in a lot of dark times as far as getting away from the game of football, getting away from people. At the time, I wasn't really talking to many people, wasn't answering my phone. So you go through real-life situations in this game of football.
"It's a real humbling experience that I went through. My mindset is a lot sharper, the details of what I went through, nobody could honestly understand unless you've been through it.
"It's definitely something I don't wish on anybody, but I made it out, and I'm just looking forward to the journey and I'm looking forward to the seasons."
Adams was the No 6 overall pick for the New York Jets in 2017 before attending three successive Pro Bowls from 2018 to 2020 as one of the most diverse and disruptive safeties in the league. He notably tallied 115 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 12 pass defenses, one interception and three forced fumbles in his sophomore year with the Jets, before managing 75 tackles, 6.5 sacks, seven pass defenses, interception and two forced fumbles in 2019.
He was subsequently traded to the Seahawks in the 2020 offseason before producing 9.5 sacks and three pass defenses alongside 85 tackles in his first year, earning a four-year $72m extension the next summer that made him the league's highest-paid safety.
"I'm just grateful to be back out there. It's the opportunity of a lifetime," he explained. "I don't take it for granted, I don't take days for granted. This injury, it didn't just teach me more about the game of football, it taught me a lot about life -what my purpose is and just how I go about my business."
He is happy to back. The Seahawks are happy to have him back.
"It just shows you the grit and the toughness and the perseverance it takes to get through something like that," said linebacker Jordyn Brooks. "To come back from that and stay positive through it all, it says a lot about him."
Seattle walk into MetLife Stadium 2-1 on the year after back-to-back victories over the Detroit Lions and Carolina Panthers following their opening-day defeat to the Los Angeles Rams.
They meet a Giants team coming off a heavy 30-12 loss to the San Francisco 49ers, with Brian Daboll's men missing star left tackle Andrew Thomas for a third straight week and running back Saquon Barkley set to be a game-time decision as he continues his recovery from an ankle issue.
Watch the Seattle Seahawks at the New York Giants live on Sky Sports NFL from 1.15am in the early hours of Tuesday morning; Stream the 2023 NFL season with NOW for £21 a month for six months