Keion Adams was a bit of a longshot to make the Pittsburgh Steelers’ 53-man roster last season. They ended up keeping five outside linebackers even with him sitting on injured reserve. But there is a spot for the taking available to him this year and he is ready to go grab it now that he is healthy and about to take the field again.
The 2017 seventh-round pick was one of two outside linebackers the Steelers drafted last year, and the two of them bonded throughout the offseason and into the year, even while Adams was on injured reserve. While he sat and watched, first-round pick T.J. Watt went on to have a great rookie season as a starter.
It didn’t matter that one came at the beginning of the class and the other at the end. They were coming into the league together on the same footing, with the same task in front of them. They bonded over that mutual task.
“We know at the end of the day we are both rookies, so we both come in here and help each other no matter what”, Adams said last year after rookie minicamp. “It don’t matter what you do in the past, it matters what you do when you get here right now, and we’re both working toward that goal”.
He told reporters that they spent a lot of time together going over and learning the playbook and working on footwork and technique in their own time. There was never really a rivalry, it seems, other than pushing each other to be better.
He added again a month later how important the relationship was to both of them. “It’s very important to have someone alongside you going through the same thing you are that you can relate to. I know it takes a load of our backs”, he told reporters.
“I would say he’s become my best friend here”, Adams said of his relationship with Watt just a couple of months after they first became teammates through the draft. “We do everything together. We eat together, lift together, work out together. We study plays together at night”.
So it’s no surprise that he credited Watt as among those who helped him get through his injury as a rookie. They roomed together at Latrobe, as should be no surprise, and their bond remained tight all throughout the year.
“You would have thought we were twins. We were joined at the hip. I love the guy like he is my brother. We came in together, worked together. He helps me so much”, he told the team’s website. “He pushes me. Even when I was practicing at the start of camp, we studied together, worked out together. He has taught me some things from playing last year. He will tell me this is how you think things will go, but this is how it will go. He has helped me a lot growing as a player and person”.
They will get the opportunity to be on the field together again for the first time since about the second week of training camp when they take the field today for the first installment of OTAs. And while Watt has never really been asked to talk about his relationship with Adams, you can be sure he’s as excited as anybody to see his friend back out on the field.