Jamal Adams details battle with depression as a New York Jet: 'It was killing me'

Jordan Cohn
November 17, 2020 - 3:27 pm

Due to injuries, belonging to an overall very porous defense and very high expectations, Jamal Adams' 2020 season has been quieter than some may have expected.

However, it's tough to follow up his past offseason, given the constant spotlight that Adams was in throughout a tumultuous time, when his problematic relationship with the Jets left the talented defender in the center of a cloud of trade speculation. He also just hasn't lived up to his former All-Pro status, according to Pro Football Focus, where he's ranked as the No. 57 safety with an overall grade of 58.8.

But even an unspectacular showing for the Seahawks sounds exponentially better than the experience that the 2017 first-round pick underwent as a member of the Jets. In the latest episode of "All Things Covered," co-hosted by Patrick Peterson and Bryant McFadden, Adams revealed that he battled serious depression during his stay in New York.

"I fought depression in New York, and I'm man enough to say it" Adams said. "There's been so many times where I've come home after a loss, a tough loss and just sat in my room in the dark. No phone, no TV. And (my dad) would walk in and be like, 'hey man, you alright?'

"He hated to see me like that. It killed my pops so much, I come to find out he was calling my agent at the time and saying, 'hey man, I don't like seeing my son like this, I need him out of this situation.' "

Adams said that his mother also struggled seeing her son in such a bad way to the point where she called him.

"I knew I couldn't do it when Mom called me and said, 'son, I don't want you there anymore,' " Adams said. "I knew it was my time to go."

Many things weighed him down, but money wasn't one of those factors, according to Adams. Instead, it was the lack of any overall desire from the Jets to win games, along with the perceived disrespect he received from many members of the organization.

"Joe Douglas told my agent after the trade went through that they weren't gonna pay me until 2022," Adams said. "So that was just God getting me out of the situation like that, and again, it wasn't about the money with me. It was just about the respect.

"I felt like I wasn't getting the respect that I deserve, and I did so much for the Jets on and off the field. Two-time MVP of the team, back-to-back... and I was just like, damn, do you really value me?"

The culture of the franchise also rubbed Adams the wrong way at times, and he specifically recalled former Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan's behavior as something that didn't sit well with him.

"When Maccagnan was there, I'll never forget, he used to walk past a lot of the guys in the hallway," Adams said. "He didn't speak. It bothered me so much because I was raised that when you walk into a room, you speak to everybody. You speak to the damn dog if you have to... (The Jets) weren't doing the little things in the building as a group, as a collective group, and it starts from top to bottom."

Adams didn't think Maccagnan acted like this with any malicious intentions, but was just uncomfortable with it. Still, Adams felt like a front office leader like Maccagnan needed to get better at dealing with uncomfortable situations like that, and this fed into his overall feeling that New York just wasn't the right organization to be a part of.

"I really wanted to stick it out and actually become a Jet for life," Adams said. "I said that and I meant that because I felt I could do it by myself, but when I look back on it, I couldn't.

"I love New York, I love the fans, but I couldn't fight it... it was taking a toll on my life, it was taking a toll on my family... and the relationships that I had. It was killing me."

In Seattle, however, he's found his happiness and sees the Seahawks as an organization that he truly enjoys playing for.

"At the end of the day, you have to take care of yourself, because this is all business," Adams said. "You just want the right fit. You want the right organization that appreciates you, and that's all I was looking for, and Seattle blessed me with that. They blessed me to let me be myself, let me come over here and not be judged, not have to walk on eggshells when I'm in the building, not having to hide from my GM or owner.

"Let’s be honest, the Jets were the laughingstock. (In Seattle), this is how the NFL is supposed to be. This is the dream I was dreaming."

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