Jamal Adams couldn't contain his excitement about being the newest member of the Seattle Seahawks when he conducted a video press conference on Thursday.
But the All-Pro safety also bookended his time with the media with two other somber topics. First, he opened by stating "We need to arrest the murderers of Breonna Taylor," continuing the nation-wide call for justice for Taylor, who in March was killed in her home by Louisville Metro Police Department officers.
After a long conversation about how he'll fit in with his new team, the trade that brought him here, his connection with new teammates Bobby Wagner and Quandre Diggs, his love of the Legion of Boom-era Seahawks defense and more, Adams finished by paying his respects to Bryce Wisdom, a Texas teenager who passed over the weekend after a battle with cancer. Wisdom was both a Seahawks fan and a fan of Adams, and through a former coach at LSU, Frank Wilson, Adams was able to have a video call with Wisdom on the day he died.
"I'm getting emotional about it because it is very tough," Adams said. "He told me that he wanted to meet me and he wanted to say kind of his last words wish me luck. Hearing that, it broke me down, I broke down in the car… That really touched me, man, because during his last day of suffering going through that and fighting, he wanted to meet me. I didn't take that light, man, it hit home. I have nothing but love and respect for his family to reach out and make his make his dream come true, make his wish come true. I told him that I'm going to dedicate this season to him, and I told him that I'm always going to be thinking about him, and that I was excited to be a Seattle Seahawk. I told him I loved him and I told him that I'm always thinking about him."
In between those two serious topics, Adams was all energy and enthusiasm as he discussed becoming a member of the Seahawk following Saturday's trade with the New York Jets.
"I'm excited," he said. "I'm excited to be here. I'm excited to be a Seattle Seahawk. When I got the call, honestly I broke down in tears of joy. A lot of mixed emotions. I'm going to miss a lot of guys over there. But at the end of the day, man, this is my calling, this is where I need to be, this is where I was placed to be… This is my calling. I'm here to stay, and I'm excited to be a Seattle Seahawk. I'm really overwhelmed, but at the same time, it's so surreal to be around a great organization like Seattle, and to be coached by legendary coaches, Hall of Fame coaches, playing with Hall of Famers from Russ (Wilson) to Bobby (Wagner), K.J. (Wright), Bruce Irvin, Quandre Diggs, the list goes on and on. I'm just excited to be to be here. I'm here to help, and I can't wait to get out there in front of the 12s."
And while Adams didn't have the final say on where he ultimately ended up this season, either with the Jets or with another team if they agreed to trade him, he definitely had Seattle on his list of preferred destinations.
"I just felt Seattle was a first-class organization from top to bottom. When you think about coming into a situation like this, as far as being drafted into an organization with Russell, with Bobby Wagner on the other side, Bruce Irvin, so many guys that came before us or that are still here—K.J.—man, these guys have done it, and they've seen it all. They've been in the big dance, they won the big dance, and that's what it's about, man, just being around a lot of potential Hall of Famers and a lot of great football players, but not only that, just great guys. Having a great locker room, that brotherhood that they talked about over here, that's what it's about. So I knew Seattle was definitely the perfect spot for me, I just couldn't come out and say, so I'm excited to be here."
Adams was known in his time with the Jets as one of the more versatile safeties in the game, a player who can do everything from covering the deep middle third of the field to stopping the run as a box safety to piling up 6.5 sacks as a pass-rusher last season. And as Adams told Wagner when the two talked this week, he is willing to do just about anything in Seattle's defense to help the team win.
"I told him, 'I'm here to help you, I'm here to help Russ, I'm here to help the whole team,' because the ultimate goal is to get to the big dance," Adams said. "I'm just here to help, so whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do."
And in a statement that will definitely make his new head coach proud, Adams said he is coming in having to compete for a starting role despite his status as a two-time All-Pro and two-time Pro-Bowler.
"At the end of the day, I'm here to compete," he said. "There's no starting role for me, I have to earn it, and that's what it's always been for me. You don't just come into a situation and expect to be there. There's a ton of talent out here, a ton of guys who are fighting for those positions, and at the end of the day, nobody really has a starting position yet, everybody's competing, that's what training camp is four. The best 11 will be out there. Hopefully I'm in the rotation, hopefully I'm starting, and that's my mindset going into it."
A big topic surrounding Adams in New York was his contract status—he has two years left on his rookie deal, including the fifth-year option that comes with first-round picks—and while Adams didn't want to talk about that topic on Thursday, he did make it clear that he plans on being in Seattle for the long run.
"The plan is to retire here," he said. "That is my plan. Obviously, those things handle themselves, all you have to do is go on the field and perform, do the right things on and off the field, and those things will take care of themselves. I'm very excited to be here, I know the rest of the guys are excited to have me, the coaching staff and everybody else, so we'll worry about that when the time comes."
As for teaming up with another first-team All-Pro in Wagner, a fellow Jordan Brand athlete who Adams has hung out with at various functions, including one in Monaco, Adams called that pairing, "a cheat code."
"Bobby is a hell of a guy," he said. "We talked about it a while back saying, 'What if we played together?' Honestly, how I would describe us linking up and me finally being a part of Seattle is, it's a cheat code, it's really a cheat code."
Wagner isn't the only new teammate with whom Adams already has a good relations. Quandre Diggs, in all likelihood the other starting safety along with Adams, hosted Adams on a recruiting visit to the University of Texas. Adams eventually chose LSU, but the two formed a close bond during that weekend in Austin that has continued through their NFL careers.
"Believe it or not, he was my host," recalled Adams. "We had a great time on Sixth Street. I'll never forget it, we had a great time, and me and Quandre have been close ever since. Even when he was in Detroit, we talked literally every day. He would hit me up and say, 'Man, I like that play you made,' or I'll hit him and say, 'Man, you ballin' out there,' or whatever it is, we're always talking. He's like a brother to me, and we've known each other for a very long time. We always talked about, 'Man, what if we played together?'"
That day has come for Adams, and for a number of reasons, he couldn't be happier to be in Seattle.
Photos of Jamal Adams during this time with the New York Jets. Adams, an All-Pro and Pro-Bowl safety, was acquired by the Seahawks in a trade on July 25, 2020.