FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jamal Adams was surprised by what he saw when he first came to the New York Jets: a negative environment the likes of which he wasn’t familiar.
The second-year safety told Bleacher Report in a story published Tuesday that the Jets appeared used to losing and some players wanted to do only the bare minimum. The interview was conducted a few months ago.
“I’m very passionate,” Adams said Tuesday when asked about his comments. “Coming in, I was wide-eyed. I just wanted to come in and work hard and make an impact. The things that came out, I didn’t feel very strong as far as me saying that.”
Adams said he has no regrets about the comments, which made for some buzz on a hot, steamy day at training camp.
“Everybody was used to losing,” Adams said in the Bleacher Report story. “You can always tell that vibe. I came in, and it was like everybody wanted to do the bare minimum. They didn’t want to go above and beyond. They didn’t want to take that extra step.”
Adams, the Jets’ first-round pick out of LSU last year, insisted he never meant to disparage any of his teammates. He also acknowledged that he was speaking about players who are no longer with the team, but did not identify them.
Despite being in the NFL for just one year, Adams is already considered a leader on the Jets because of his work ethic and willingness to lead by example.
“I do things a little different as far as how passionate I am when I’m on the field,” he said Tuesday. “In this world, period, not everybody works as hard as someone else. Those things are left unsaid and we’re moving forward.”
Coach Todd Bowles said he spoke to Adams twice about the player’s comments — on Tuesday and a few weeks ago.
“Jamal is a very young player, and he’s a very smart player, and he speaks from his heart,” Bowles said. “We talked about it. He didn’t mean a lot of the things that came out wrong.”
Teammate Leonard Williams said Adams’ comments were “a little bold,” and thought he perhaps needed to say things differently — although Williams was not critical of him.
“I don’t blame Jamal at all for what he said,” Williams said. “He probably just didn’t word it in the best way. He’s a young guy. He has a lot to learn on and off the field. This is part of the off-the-field stuff he has to learn.”
Adams wouldn’t directly address the comments, but insisted that the culture of the team is much better now than it was a year ago — and that his teammates are “gelling.”
“I never want to bash any of my teammates, that’s not what I’m here for,” Adams said. “Those guys know that. Again, it’s never going to be about me. It’s always going to be about this team and what we can do to build this culture up each and every day.”
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)