INDIANAPOLIS — Mike Adams made a living out of proving people wrong.
In 2004, Adams went undrafted out of Delaware, but wouldn’t take long at all to crack the lineup that year as a rookie with the San Francisco 49ers.
In 2012, the Cleveland Browns decided not to bring Adams back after a productive five-year stint, so he signed with the Denver Broncos, and immediately was inserted into their starting lineup.
In June of 2014, Adams signed with the Indianapolis Colts, and was initially thought of by many as just a camp body. He’d not only go on to start at safety in Indy over the next three years, but would earn his first-career Pro Bowl selections in 2014 and 2015.
Finally, over the last three seasons, even as he progressed into his late-30s, Adams continued to make plays for the Carolina Panthers and the Houston Texans.
Adams will forever have that chip on his shoulder, but now he’s got nothing left to prove — not as a player, at least. After 16 seasons, “Pops” today officially announced his retirement from the National Football League in an appearance on the NFL Network’s Good Morning Football.
Adams was able to have consistent production from the safety position starting from his first full season with the 49ers in 2005, when he tallied 77 tackles and four interceptions in 14 games, to his last full season with the Panthers in 2018, when he tallied 75 tackles and three picks in 16 games.
In 228 total games with 149 starts, Adams accumulated 935 total tackles (19 for a loss) with 30 interceptions (two returned for a touchdown), 90 passes defensed, 13 forced fumbles, 16 fumble recoveries and six sacks.
He’s just one of six players in the NFL since at least 1999 to collect at least 935 tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 30 interceptions and 13 forced fumbles. The others on that list are Ray Lewis, Ronde Barber, Charles Woodson, Rodney Harrison and Brian Dawkins — two current Hall of Famers (Lewis and Dawkins) and three others who very well could be joining them within the next few years.
Adams is the only player of that bunch who went undrafted, however.
It was in Indy where Adams was able to become one of the top playmaking safeties in the NFL. He was signed just before the start of training camp in 2014 after another safety, Corey Lynch, was placed on injured reserve, and quickly moved his way up the depth chart by the start of the regular season.
In 2014, Adams turned in perhaps his finest season — 87 total tackles (one for a loss) with five interceptions, 11 passes defensed, two forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries — and was named a Pro Bowler for the first time in his career.
He followed that up with yet another Pro Bowl selection the following season, when he’d tally 75 tackles (one for a loss) with another five interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), six passes defensed, three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and a sack.
From 2014 through 2015, only Reggie Nelson (12) and Glover Quin (11) had more interceptions in the NFL than Adams’ 10.
Adams in all tallied 241 total tackles (three for a loss) with 12 interceptions (one returned for a touchdown), 19 passes defensed, seven forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and one sack during his three seasons with the Colts.