No sooner is the age number “thirty” uttered and Indianapolis Colts safety Mike Adams interrupts to say there isn’t any need to say the other number.
“Come on now!” Adams said with a smile during June’s offseason training activities.
He places a hand over the camera and playfully says, “Twenty-five.”
He’s actually 35, but insists he doesn’t feel or look it.
Adams laughs and says, “Still going.”
The Colts didn’t think Adams was too old when he signed as a free agent in June 2014. Adams has contributed 162 total tackles, 17 passes defended, 10 interceptions, five forced fumbles and scored a touchdown in making the first two Pro Bowls of his career the past two seasons.
And he sounds hungry for more as he approaches his 13th NFL season.
“I feel good,” he said. “Just maintaining and building chemistry with the fellas. Making calls, getting each other down. This is my third year with Vontae Davis, so now we’re kind of in sync – and ‘D-Butz' (Darius Butler) and working together for three years now. Being our third year, it should be good.”
The Colts have drafted with an eye for the future in each of the past two selections. Last year, they used a fourth-round pick on safety Clayton Geathers, who is expected to become a full-time starter alongside Adams this season. In the most recent draft, the Colts used a second-round pick on safety T.J. Green, who is expected to back up the starters while learning the position at the pro level.
“That’s part of it,” Adams said. “I’m not a fool. I understand. It’s the business.”
His role as a seasoned mentor is part of the job.
“Keep grinding. Work,” he said of his advice imparted to Geathers and Green, among others. “Don’t get complacent.”
Colts head coach Chuck Pagano has cited Adams and kicker Adam Vinatieri, the NFL’s oldest player at 43, as examples of how any player can make it in the league if they work hard enough. Both Adams and Vinatieri were undrafted.
Pagano likes how Adams has helped the younger defenders.
“Great mentor, a ton of knowledge obviously and experience,” the coach said last month. “He does a great job with those guys. We have the luxury because he’s got so many snaps and experience and time under his belt that we can take him out of there and kind of let him be another coach on the field and be a coach in the room and let those young guys continue to develop and get some extra reps.
“He’s a selfless guy. He spends a tremendous amount of time where other guys might hurry off to get here or get there. He’ll spend whatever time those guys want. We encourage a guy like T.J. (Green) and young safeties like Stefan McClure and Andrew Williamson that we got in here to get in that guy’s hip pocket. You ought to be his shadow. He’s going into year 13 I believe and I think he was a college free agent coming out. A little hard work, effort, attention to detail, focus and some passion – talent will get you here but your passion will keep you here. He does a great job with the young guys that way.”
After the Colts’ public mini-camp practice in June at Lucas Oil Stadium, Adams spoke of how he likes the fact that his team isn’t generating the Super Bowl buzz of a year ago. The Colts are seen as an underdog by many after an 8-8 season. Adams has always considered himself an underdog, too.
“I love it,” he said. “Just me personally, I’ve always played the underdog role. Right now, it looks like the Colts are the underdog, no one is talking about us and that’s a good thing. There’s no pressure. We aren’t worrying about what anyone else is saying, we just to have handle what we have to handle and our goal is to end up in Houston.”
Super Bowl LI is Feb. 5, 2017, in Houston’s NRG Stadium.
Owner Jim Irsay addressed the team at midfield after the mini-camp practice.
“He was just saying that he’s glad for us to be here, glad to be back in the Shoe and our goal doesn’t change,” Adams said. “Everybody in the league has the same goal right now and ours doesn’t change and we have to keep that mentality.”
Adams’ individual goal is still the same, too: Keep making plays and be a leader.
And remember how, for some guys, age is just a number.
Phillip B. Wilson also can be found on Facebook and Google+.