BY MARK CURNUTTE | ENQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sam Adams’ signing Monday was greeted warmly by the players he’ll line up beside.
The 335-pound defensive tackle, who officially signed a three-year contract, could make a major contribution in improving the defense.
“A guy like Sam Adams is going to help you. I’ve talked to JT (John Thornton) and (Bryan Robinson),” defensive end Justin Smith said on the first day of the team’s offseason strength and conditioning program “We’re all excited. We just want to have a good football team.
“The better people you have, the better team you have. All the things you want in a ‘D’ tackle, he’s him. He’s been a part of some great football teams, successful football teams. Any time you get a guy like him it’s going to be good.”
Adams will be a 13th-year player in 2006. He was voted to three Pro Bowl teams in the past six seasons, beginning in 2000 when he started for Super Bowl-winning Baltimore. Bengals coach Marvin Lewis was the Ravens’ defensive coordinator.
Adams was a Pro Bowl alternate for Buffalo in 2005. He started the first eight games before being slowed by an ankle injury that forced him to miss two games.
He has made 150 career starts in 12 seasons with 179 career games.
“We’re excited to have Sam join the Bengals,” Lewis said. “His abilities, both physically and mentally, will upgrade our defensive unit.”
Though he had yet to sign Monday morning when reporters were allowed in the locker room, Adams already had a locker. A placard reading “Adams 95” hung above one stall. He will wear No. 95.
In Adams’ three-year contract, the first year is worth almost $4 million if he reaches all incentive clauses.
Adams is expected to play primarily against the run, a weakness for the Bengals even after three years under defensive guru Lewis.
The signing of former Tampa Bay safety Jackson and the return of healthy free safety Madieu Williams also should help significantly.