In the world of professional sports, it’s refreshing and exciting to see a local kid don the hometown colors. The magnitude of this opportunity isn’t lost on Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Paul Adams, who grew up just outside of Nashville in the neighborhood of Bellevue.
As Adams prepared to join the Titans for his first training camp with the team, he enjoyed reminiscing on the journey that got him here. Adams didn’t just grow up in Tennessee. He rooted for the Titans as a kid. “I was in the stands for the Music City Miracle,” Adams said.
Originally signed as an undrafted free agent by the Giants in 2019, Adams spent the early part of his NFL career on the east coast, away from friends and family. Adams has had his fair share of ups and downs, but the chance to play an NFL game in front of his loved ones would represent the ultimate accomplishment.
Adams recently spoke with Broadway Sports about growing up a Titans fan, which current teammate he idolized in high school, his favorite restaurants in Nashville, and how he plans to approach this year’s training camp.
JM: You’re a Nashville, Tennessee native. You must enjoy the thought of playing for the hometown Titans.
PA: It’s an absolute blessing for my family and I. It’s a huge opportunity for me. I’ve been on a few other teams. I’ve spent most of my time on the east coast. I’ve played for the Giants and Washington Football Team. I didn’t really get to see anyone in my family during that time. It was tough. I had to wait for the offseason to see everyone basically. Playing here in Nashville, it’s huge. It allows me to spend more time with my family.
I’m playing for a team that I grew up rooting for every Sunday. I cheered them on from my couch every single week.
JM: That’s so cool. What’s your favorite memory of rooting for the Titans as a kid?
PA: I’d probably have to say the Music City Miracle. That was one of the first ever games I attended in person. I got to spend time with my family at that game. I’ll have the memory of that game ingrained in my mind for the rest of time. The miracle itself was so cool to watch in person. It’ll forever be remembered by this great city and franchise.
JM: That’s a great memory to have. You continued being a fan into adulthood. You actually wore No. 77 at Missouri because you’re such a big Taylor Lewan fan. What’s it been like to be teammates with one of your favorite players?
PA: I’m excited to spend more time with him this year. I’m still getting to know him. I came in during the middle of last season and obviously he was dealing with the injury. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time together due to that. I’m a huge fan of his. I have so much respect for his game. If you’ve watched him play, he’s one of those guys that makes you want to play the game the way he does. He plays with so much passion. He’s enthusiastic about what he does and that energy rubs off on you. Hopefully I’ll get to know him a bit better over these next few weeks. This is a fun team to watch and play for, and Lewan is a big part of that. He knows how to play through the whistle and finish a play. I try to play the same way.
JM: How do you enjoy working with offensive line coach Keith Carter?
PA: Coach Carter is awesome. There’s a pretty big difference between him and other guys I’ve played for. He pushes you every single day. I was on the practice squad last year but it didn’t matter to him. Coach Carter still expected me to prepare as if I was playing that week. I love that because it pushed me to be a better person, teammate and player. I’m very thankful for how he approaches the game.
JM: That’s great to hear. What’s your favorite aspect of playing on the offensive line?
PA: It’s a very selfless position. It gives me an opportunity to protect the quarterback. I think that’s awesome. We can go a bit unnoticed sometimes. Whether it’s run or pass, we don’t get the glory all that often. That’s okay with us. At the end of the day, our coaches and teammates know how important we are. We get recognition inside our building.
JM: How do you feel the Titans compare with the other teams you’ve been with from a locker room and coaching perspective?
PA: I think it’s tough to compare. I will say that I think they do a great job running things here. It’s awesome. It starts at the top with head coach Mike Vrabel. He’s a player himself. He knows what it takes. He played for 14 years. It’s awesome to see that. We love learning from him. He didn’t play that long ago either. I don’t know what year it was when he retired, but it really wasn’t that long ago. He’s still a young guy. He knows exactly what it feels like to be one of us right now. He’s the right man for the job.
JM: That’s excellent. What do you think the biggest challenge of being on the practice squad is that the average fan doesn’t realize?
PA: It’s kind of like being a redshirt freshman all over again. There’s a good chance that you won’t be playing during the season. You won’t dress up for a game that week. You’re trying to stay focused on the bigger picture. It’s important to stay motivated. You may not be playing this week, but you need to keep improving and showing the coaches that you’re able to play at this level. You need to stay prepared and ready for your opportunity. It hurts to know you’re not playing, but you need to approach every week like you are. If you keep getting better and better, you may get your chance. It goes back to being a redshirt freshman. You’re watching other guys play. You’re a spectator.
JM: That’s actually a really good point. I know you’re excited to get to know some of your teammates better during camp. We talked about Lewan and the offensive line. On the other side of that, is there a defensive lineman you’re excited to practice against?
PA: I’m excited to practice against everybody. We’ve gone through some changes on the D-line. It’ll be awesome to practice against those new guys. I wouldn’t single anybody out. I think we have a really good defensive line. We’re going to have a lot of fun at training camp going head-to-head with one another. I think we’re all looking forward to that. I’m so excited about that.
JM: As a Nashville native and member of the big guy club, what are some of your top eats in the Nashville area?
PA: Oh man (laughs). You and I can probably talk about this for days. I’m a big fan of Mexican food. It doesn’t matter if it’s a small place in Bellevue or one of the bigger places in downtown Nashville. You also can’t go wrong with Martin’s Bar-B-Que. That’s an awesome place. I don’t like it when the line gets too long though (laughs). I try to avoid the touristy places for the most part. The lines just get too ridiculous. I’m always looking for new places to eat. I’ll pass by a new place and give it a try. I don’t care if it looks like a hole in the wall. I’ll check it out. Nine times out of 10, it turns out to be really good.
JM: That’s so great. When you’re in the mood for good Mexican food, do you have a go-to spot?
PA: I grew up in Bellevue. We have Las Palmas on Highway 100. I think I’ve been going there since I was eight or nine years old. I absolutely love it there. We’ve made friends with the people that work there. It’s a family owned business. I think they’ve had the same people working there since I was a kid. It’s always fun. I used to love going there when I was coming home from college. So many months would go by and they’d always greet me with a smile. Even when I was playing elsewhere in the NFL, I always made it a point to eat there whenever I had a chance to go home. They always ask how I’m doing. It’s a great place that’s owned by wonderful people.
JM: We love that. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Paul. In closing, what do your goals look like for the next few weeks?
PA: I’m gonna keep working on myself and sharpening my skills as an offensive lineman. I’m trying to carve out a role on this team in whichever way possible. I’m trying to make a daily impact while improving as a player and person every single day. I’m trying to get better. That’s the goal. Every day, every practice is a new opportunity. I’m trying to earn a spot on this team.