Keion Adams is in a much better place than he was last year. And I don’t just mean last year as in after he suffered a shoulder injury early in training camp that shut down his rookie season with the Pittsburgh Steelers. I mean last year as in a year ago, where he was during OTAs in 2017.
The 2017 seventh-round draft pick, like most rookies, was pretty lost at this time of year. His head was swimming with all the new information that the Steelers’ coaching staff was drilling him with. It was a strenuous time and it never really slowed down for him before he was injured. He just didn’t have the time to let it slow down.
“That first year, having to learn the plays on the fly, come out here and put it together in one day, it was really tough because things are moving so fast”, Adams told reporters during OTAs. “It was just new. But now since I actually know the plays and actually got things down pat, now it’s the little things, working on techniques, communicating more, and just making sure I stay healthy”.
He was healthy all through the spring for the Steelers a year ago, but he injured his shoulder about a week into training camp and was unable to participate in the preseason. He ended up being placed on injured reserve before the regular season even started.
Following the season, the team said that Adams was healed from his shoulder surgery after about five months, meaning that he was better some time around the end of the season. That means that he has had a few months at least to start getting himself back into football shape. That helped him hit the ground running during OTAs this year.
“My shoulder was messed up and I couldn’t go out there”, he said of his experience last year, but he decided to look on the bright side of being on the sidelines and in the classroom. “You can’t look at it as a negative. You’ve got to take every negative and find a positive in it”, he said. “If not, you’re going to stay down. And that’s the way I did it, was to find a positive in every negative”.
Alex Kozora talked yesterday about how Adams was looking to make the most of his opportunity to take mental reps. He also spent a lot of time with T.J. Watt, the other outside linebacker that the Steelers drafted in 2017. The two worked together quite a bit that season and have continued to build a mutual relationship into this season.
Adams’ first priority is to make the 53-man roster, and there is an opportunity there. The team has only returned three of the five outside linebackers that were with the team a year ago and haven’t added much to the roster since then, only signing undrafted free agent Olasunkanmi Adeniyi.