Veteran DT Adams coveted by NFL teams

Updated: May 27, 2007, 1:29 PM ET
By Len Pasquarelli | ESPN.com

He is in limbo after being released by the Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month, but despite being three weeks shy of his 34th birthday and rehabilitating from an offseason arthroscopic knee surgery, veteran defensive tackle Sam Adams is still in demand.

Sam Adams

Adams

Defensive Tackle
Cincinnati Bengals

Profile

2006 Season Stats
Tot Solo Ast FF Sack Int
14 11 3 0 2 0

The 13-year veteran met last week with St. Louis Rams officials and coaches, and Adams is also tentatively scheduled this week, possibly as early as Tuesday, to visit the Houston Texans, ESPN.com has learned. The Denver Broncos, who are seeking more interior size on defense and who have closely monitored Adams since he was jettisoned by the Bengals, also remain a possibility.

The upshot: Look for Adams, a three-time Pro Bowl performer, to have a sixth different NFL address sometime before training camps open in two months.

"He definitely wants to play and there is interest in him," agent Angelo Wright said. "There just aren't a lot of guys out there who can do what he does."

Adams is a proven defender versus the run, a mammoth inside presence who regularly commands double-team blocking, and who can engulf offensive linemen. A classic two-gap player, he rarely registers impressive tackle numbers, but his value has never been measured by statistics. By typically occupying two blockers on running downs, he usually allows other defenders to flow to the football.

His stay in Cincinnati, where he played only one season of the three-year contract he signed last spring, was surprisingly short-lived, given his relationship with coach Marvin Lewis. But the Bengals wanted to get younger at defensive tackle and there were some concerns about Adams' health and age.

Last summer, Lewis held Adams out of the first several weeks of training camp, keeping him off the field until he was comfortable the veteran tackle had improved his conditioning. Once the season started, however, Adams played and started in all 16 games. For his career, he has demonstrated remarkable durability, missing only 13 games. Adams has never sat out more than four games in a season, and not more than three games since 1999.

Adams did have arthroscopic knee surgery shortly after the season ended, in part because he knew he wanted to return for a 14th year, and sources said the Rams were satisfied with his progress in rehabilitation. Although he has struggled at times with weight problems, Adams weighed in the low 340s for the Rams, a manageable number for him.

St. Louis officials have already said that first-round pick Adam Carriker of Nebraska will be one starting tackle, although the coaches aren't certain yet if he will play the "under" or nose tackle spot. The veterans competing for the spot next to him are Jimmy Kennedy, La'Roi Glover and Claude Wroten. If the Rams do eventually sign Adams, he would probably play nose tackle and would then align at the "under" tackle position.

In Houston, the Texans selected Louisville defensive tackle Amobi Okoye in the first round of the draft last month, but are still looking for help at the position. Okoye is viewed more as a penetrating defender, and Adams would add bulk and proven run-stuffing ability. Under new defensive coordinator Jim Bates, the Broncos would like to get bigger up front. Bates has long been a coach who preferred widebodies at tackle.

A former Texas A&M star, Adams was a first-round draft choice of the Seattle Seahawks in 1994, the eighth player chosen overall that year. In stints with Seattle (1994-99), Baltimore (2000-2001), Oakland (2002), Buffalo (2003-2005) and Cincinnati (2006), he has appeared in 195 games, with 166 starts, and has registered 452 tackles, 44 sacks, six forced fumbles, five recoveries and 32 pass deflections.

Senior writer Len Pasquarelli covers the NFL for ESPN.com.