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Carolina Panthers

"Old school" Mike Adams a key new piece for Panthers


SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Mike Adams just doesn't get the music of today's youth.

Little Yachty? Give him Biggie every day and twice on Sunday.

Had the safety been on the Panthers' roster at Super Bowl 50, he surely would have been front and center when Snoop Dogg dropped by.

Adams and the "D.O. Double G" have a thing or two in common. Or at least a couple of letters in common.

"They call me 'OG,' Adams said of the nickname his young whippersnapper teammates have given him. "Cam's got his own nickname for me: 'Old School.' I'll take that."

You can count on one hand the number of non-kickers and quarterbacks currently on NFL rosters who are oldest than Adams, who turned 36 in March. (One of them, 37-year-old Julius Peppers, also is a Panther. "Peppers is Triple OG," Adams said).

"Zack Sanchez took my license and said, 'Oh man, you were born in '81? That's close to the seventies!' Everyone got a chuckle out of that," Adams said. "I've heard all the jokes."

From Adams' perspective, though, the joke is on everyone else. Like Peppers, he continues to turn away Father Time – usually a powerful force in the NFL. As a member of the Indianapolis Colts in 2014, he made his first Pro Bowl at the age of 34. Made it again at 35.


"Stop looking at the bio and watch the film," Adams said. "Trust me, I'm running like I am 22. I don't know how I'm keeping up, but I'm running like I am 22."

Adams does have a couple of theories. A rookie back in 2004, when Christian McCaffrey was in third grade, Adams experienced grueling two-a-day training camps, an approach that already was on the way out when the Collective Bargaining Agreement of 2011 further protected players from the grind.

"Antonio Gates (one of Adams' few elders) has said the way it is structured now has put a couple extra years on his NFL career," Adams said. "Those two-a-days were rough. The guys now a days are spoiled. They don't even know. They have it so good.

"They practice once a day, then we have a walk through. We were full pads twice a day. Like right now I would eat and get ready for my meetings. Then I would be getting ready to go back out there. Then we practice full pads again. It's changed. The new CBA definitely put a couple extra years on my life."

Of course, Adams deserves some credit himself for his longevity. In his first year with the Panthers, he's approaching training camp the same way he did – well – back in the day.

"I always play and always practice and approach every year like I'm going to be cut," Adams said. "It's been a long hard road, and I grind and grind every year. Every year, they brought someone in to take my position and replace me, and I came out on top.

"I take care of my body. John Fox – one of my old coaches - always talked about availability and responsibility. That's one thing, I was always available and always smart about it.

"I learned different positions. I learned safety, corner, nickel. I have played it all. I try to make myself irreplaceable."

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