Rookie offensive tackle Adams earning Steelers snaps, trust
By F. Dale Lolley
Aug 5, 2012
LATROBE – At 6-7, 323 pounds, offensive tackle Mike Adams cuts an imposing figure.
That hasn’t stopped some teammates from taking a run at the Steelers’ rookie during training camp here at Saint Vincent College.
Adams’ tenacity on the football field has already gotten him into a brief skirmish or two, most often with former Ohio State teammate Cameron Heyward.
The two went at it again Friday night during the Steelers’ practice at Latrobe Stadium, with Heyward taking offense after Adams knocked him to the ground during a team drill.
While they don’t necessarily like teammates fighting, the coaching staff seems to have taken notice of the second-round draft pick’s tenacity. Adams was moved up to the first-team offensive line Saturday, sliding ahead of veteran Trai Essex.
“Mike’s been doing a nice job. He’s earning those snaps,” said Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. “But again, he’s far from ready.”
Adams, however, is certainly moving in the right direction, something many wondered would ever happen after his final season at Ohio State.
Adams missed the first five games of the 2011 season for his part in receiving illegal benefits at Ohio State. Then, he tested positive for marijuana at the NFL draft combine.
The Steelers initially took him off of their draft board following his positive drug test. But Adams, a native of Farrell, set an appointment with Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert and Tomlin and begged for a second chance.
Considered by most to have first-round talent, Adams slipped to the second round, where he was selected by the Steelers.
Thus far, he’s been making the most of his second chance.
But lurking in the background is Max Starks, the team’s starter at left tackle for most of 2011.
Starks suffered a torn ACL at the end of last season, but the Steelers re-signed him just prior to the start of training camp. Starks is currently on the physically unable to perform list but has been working out with trainer Marcel Pastoor during Steelers practices. He’s also been helping Adams with the transition to the NFL.
“Having a guy like Max is priceless to my development,” Adams said. “Max is a guy who’s been doing it for a long time at a high level, so just to have him here to help me is something I’m really grateful for.”
Adams wasn’t the only Steelers rookie working with the first-team offense Saturday.
No. 1 draft pick David DeCastro was moved into a starting role at right guard after Ramon Foster shifted over to left guard in place of Willie Colon, who sat out Saturday with a sore ankle.
“He’s been doing a nice job of representing himself, so we’ll see where it goes,” said Tomlin. “I wasn’t watching him specifically. I’ll look at that tonight on tape. Just in general, he’s been representing himself well.”