FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) — Jamal Adams still isn’t ready to sit down with his coach or general manager.
But when New York Jets chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson asked to speak with him, the star safety was eager to tell him exactly how he felt.
“It was good,” he said. “It went well. Me and Mr. Johnson are really close. I have a lot of respect for him. I was very comfortable because he understands me — not Jamal Adams as a football player, but Jamal Adams as a person.
“He’s very genuine and authentic, and I’ve always had a mutual respect for him, so that was a guy I was comfortable with talking to. And, it went well.”
Adams was disappointed earlier this week because his name was mentioned in trade talks. After the NFL’s trade deadline passed Tuesday, Adams tweeted that GM Joe Douglas “went behind my back” to listen to offers involving him after Adams told him a few days earlier he wanted to stay in New York.
Douglas insisted he never shopped Adams but was merely fielding teams’ calls.
Still, Adams said Wednesday he was “hurt” by the whole situation. He also has refused to speak to either Douglas or coach Adam Gase about the situation to clear the air, despite both asking to chat with him.
“I am at peace with everything,” Adams said. “I’m going to eventually talk to all those guys. I’m just not ready to talk. At the end of the day, I’m human. When you get into something that just happened like that, when you get into an argument or whatever it is — a disagreement with somebody — some people handle it different ways. I do. I’m just not ready to talk.
“And that’s not just saying I’m mad or I’m a diva. I don’t care about that. I really don’t. My focus is on this team, man. I’m ready to play ball.”
Johnson asked to speak with Adams on Thursday, and the 24-year-old safety was amenable.
“He wanted to talk and I was open to it,” Adams said. “That was somebody I was open to talking to.”
Adams is in his third year with the Jets and is coming off a Pro Bowl season after establishing himself as one of the NFL’s top safeties.
The struggling Jets are 1-6 and face the winless Dolphins in Miami on Sunday. He leads the Jets with 46 total tackles, is a team captain and is widely regarded as one of New York’s emotional leaders.
“He’ll go down as one of the favorite guys I’ve ever coached,” defensive coordinator Gregg Williams said. “He’s been intense. He’s been focused. He’s had very, very good practices. I haven’t seen anything. I love coaching him.”
Other coaches and teams hold Adams in high regard, too. That’s why his name was at the top of the list of teams’ wish lists at the trade deadline, asking Douglas what it would take to pry him away.
Douglas set the price tag exorbitantly high, making it clear the Jets weren’t going to just ship him away cheaply. Running back Le’Veon Bell and wide receiver Robby Anderson were also popular names leading up until the deadline, but Douglas ended up keeping them, too.
But unlike the positive reactions by Bell and Anderson about staying in New York, Adams made it clear he was angry about the idea of Douglas and Gase going back on their word with him after he believed he wouldn’t be involved in trade talks.
That set off overwhelming negative reaction by many of the same fans who took to social media just hours before, begging the Jets to not deal one of their favorite players. After Adams’ emotional response, he was ridiculed by some who thought he was making too big a deal of the situation. Adams didn’t help his cause when he compared himself earlier this week to New England’s Tom Brady and the Los Angeles Rams’ Aaron Donald, saying their teams don’t take calls about any potential deals involving them.
“Apparently, I’m in my feelings,” Adams said. “I guess I’m a diva, I’m in my feelings — I’ve heard it all. That doesn’t bother me. I’m at peace.”
Some fans and media have wondered if the situation with Adams could be a distraction.
“I don’t think so,” Adams said. “Everybody’s in here dancing and we had a great practice. I don’t think anybody’s distracted. I think everybody’s cool. Everybody’s talking to me. They aren’t mad at me. So, we’re good, man.”
Still, there’s some thought that the controversy might have fractured Adams’ relationship with the Jets to the point where it’s irreparable. The chat with Johnson is a positive first step. Next up: the meetings that could salvage Adams’ relationships with Douglas and Gase.
“I hope it does, man,” he said. “At the end of the day, that’s not where my focus is right now. My focus is on this team. We’ve got to focus on winning ballgames right now. Honestly, I’m over the whole thing. I don’t want to talk about it anymore because I’m focused on this team. I don’t want to distract this team.”
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