Meet the New Steeler: Keion Adams


Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports

It isn’t that easy to get back in the saddle again after an extended break. As I mentioned in my note at the end of Ivan’s last article, I’ve been running around Europe lately, playing with my grandchildren and playing recitals. The former is a lot easier than the latter, which involves endless negotiations for rehearsal time, how loudly you can play while the tourists are filing past to look at Shakespeare’s grave, and so on.

But I’m back in the Burgh, and it’s time to look more closely at some of the new Steelers. I wasn’t sure where to start, so I went to and had a quick look around. They had pictures of the whole roster, and the first picture up was this year’s seventh-round pick, Keion Adams. This seemed like a sign, rather like when you close your eyes, put your finger on a random Bible verse, and discover that you need to take your car in for its annual inspection. (At least that’s how I interpreted Joshua 6:27—”Joshua’s triumph was heard throughout the land.” Obviously it needed work…) As Homer would say, “I’ll be here all week. Be sure to try the chicken…”

So Keion Adams it is. And as I researched this young man, I discovered some things about him that made him an appropriate choice for my writeup. The first one was quite a surprise. It turns out that he, like Javon Hargrave before him, hails from the town of my birth, Salisbury, N.C. Salisbury is not a large place, and as far as I know is not considered a hotbed of football talent, so this seems quite a coincidence.

Like Hargrave, Adams comes from a small college. In his case it was Western Michigan. He was not highly recruited—quite the contrary. He was recruited by Western Michigan assistant coach Bill Kenney after Ball State retracted their offer, and that was it So he headed north, and as he told the Salisbury Post :

[It was] the best decision of my life,” Adams said. “I needed to get away from a lot of negativity, and start fresh. Kalamazoo changed my life and not just on the football field. I grew up. I matured. I’m a different person now than when I left Salisbury.”

The big issue for Adams entering the draft was his position. He played defensive end for four years at Michigan, but he is distinctly too small for an NFL DE. Adams was certainly versatile in high school, where his coach lined him up at fullback, tight end, safety, and whatever else he needed, but that’s not a lot of help now. Adams was definitely aware of the issue, though:

“Obviously I’ll play anywhere in the NFL someone wants me to and I’ll do anything a team asks,” Adams said. “But if you told me I could pick my position, I’d pick outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. I’m athletic enough to make plays there, but that’s something I’m going to have to prove…”

At least one member of the local press seems to be in Adams’ corner. Paul Zeise of the Post-Gazette wrote in early May:

Adams is a bit of a sleeper pick, and he is the kind of player teams love to find in the late rounds of the draft. He has all the raw skills — speed, explosiveness off the ball, good instincts — to be a great pass rusher. The key word, though, is raw, as he has a lot of refining to do on his technique.

He is also undersized, but undersized players make it all the time. That’s mostly because there is no real way to measure a man’s heart, work ethic and desire. If those three things truly are the difference between making it and not, then my money is on Adams to become a good NFL player.

Adams has to get stronger if he wants to be an every down player, but he could be a pass-rush specialist almost immediately. He will struggle against the run initially because of is size, but he wasn’t drafted to be a run stopper.

He is a pure pass rusher, and if you watch his film like I have, his first step explosion and his ability to blow past offensive linemen jumps off the screen. His athletic ability and speed made him an intriguing prospect, but the Steelers also love his attitude, how coachable he is and his work ethic.

Certainly Adams believes it is possible. As he told Zeise, James Harrison is an inspiration and motivation for him:

It really shows you that no matter what the situation, you can accomplish anything and get to where you need to be as long as you put your mind to it. I just want to work hard, learn and make sure I am doing everything I need to do to get there.

As my long-time readers know, I’m very interested in how a player used the educational opportunity he was given, and I’m happy to report that Adams majored in Criminal Justice, and is only a few hours away from being able to graduate. It sounds as if he is going to do his best to take advantage of the opportunity being drafted by the Steelers represents as well. And heaven knows we could use another good pass rusher. So welcome to the Steelers, Mr. Adams, and we look forward to watching you at Training Camp.






  • cold_old_steelers_fan

    There is a local chain of restaurants in Winnipeg known as Salisbury House. IIRC, the original owners were from the USA. One of the owners of the chain is Burton Cummings (formerly lead singer of the Guess Who) who, iirc, moved to the USA. Rebecca is from Salisbury (in the USA) and is known for her work with choirs (singing) Co-incidence?

    It has been a long time since I heard the term “hours” used for university courses. I have become used to credits being used instead though hours is somehow more poetic.

    Liked by 1 person

    • cold_old_steelers_fan

      One more co-incidence. Burton sang American Woman and Rebecca is an American woman. I rest my case.


    • Burton Cummings has an intimate knowledge of small town North America. He wrote about it often….

      “Moose Jaw saw a few, Moosomin too
      Runnin’ back to Saskatoon
      Red Deer, Terrace and a Medicine Hat
      Sing another prairie tune
      Sing another prairie tune.”

      Homer was in Saskatoon only once, just long enough to step off the Canadian (a great train ride) and stretch his legs. That was the same rail yard where Rowdy Roddy Piper’s dad, Stanley Baird Toombs, worked as a railroad detective before he headed even farther north and became a Mountie, stationed at The Pas, Manitoba. Damn, it’s cold up there. No wonder Roddy got kicked out of high school in The Pas and ended up running away from home and joining the (wrestling) circus. If you had to grow up in The Pas, you would prefer being body slammed or being caught in a figure four grapevine to sticking around and waiting for the ground to become unfrozen sometime around Dominion Day, as it was then known.

      Nicest people in the world in the small towns on the Canadian prairie. Worst weather. But there’s always the bright lights of Edmonton, Calgary, and Winnipeg drawing you to the temptations of the big city.

      Anyhoo, Saturday is Canada’s 150th birthday, and a cause for celebration there and here. Happy Canada 150 to COSF and to everyone in the land of poutine, Alberta beef, and cold, sweet Molson! Regards to everyone up there, even the Newfies!


      • cold_old_steelers_fan

        Thanks Homer. You thoughts are appreciated though it will be a local brew called Fort Garry Dark (not as good as when it first launched but still a decent beer).

        I was thinking of repainting the house on Canada Day… it is already red and white but instead we have to spend it hanging with some of the wife’s friends. Not the worst thing but I will have to use moderation because I will need to drive.


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