Gaines Adams, an All-American defensive end at Clemson whose career never blossomed in the NFL with Chicago and Tampa Bay, died Sunday in Greenwood, S.C., after going into cardiac arrest. He was 26.
Adams died at Self Regional Hospital after going into cardiac arrest about an hour before at his family’s home in Greenwood, said Marcia Kelley-Clark, chief deputy coroner for Greenwood County.
An autopsy showed an enlarged heart, a condition that can often lead to a heart attack, Kelley-Clark added. She said relatives were unaware of any medical condition.
Toxicology tests are being run by the State Law Enforcement Division, although drug use is not suspected. The results probably will not be available for at least two months, Kelley-Clark said.
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Adams, 6-foot-5 and 258 pounds, spent three seasons in the NFL, two with the Buccaneers and part of this season with the Bears.
“He was a true team player and a positive influence to everyone he met,” Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris said.
Adams was selected fourth overall in the 2007 draft by Tampa Bay. He had not been able to live up to expectations that he would revive the Buccaneers’ once-feared pass rush, and had just 17 tackles and one sack in 15 games – 10 with Chicago – this season. He was traded to the Bears in October for a second-round pick in 2010.
“Gaines was a quiet, humble kid and is far too young to be gone,” Buccaneers cornerback Ronde Barber said. “He had so much potential that had yet to be achieved.”
Buccaneers defensive tackle Chris Hovan said he took Gaines under his wing when he came to Tampa Bay.
“I considered him my little brother and that’s how I will always remember him,” he said. “This is all so unreal and it hasn’t really hit me yet.”
“Monday Night Football” analyst Jon Gruden drafted Adams in 2007 while coaching the Buccaneers. He called him a “great teammate” with a “tremendous future.”
Morris said at the start of training camp that Adams would be considered a “bust” if he didn’t reach double digits in sacks. Adams fell short of the benchmark, although he welcomed the challenge.
“In football you need that,” Adams said in August. “Players tend to get in their own element and do things that they want to do. They need to be called out sometimes. He’s the coach. Whatever he says, goes.”
Morris criticized Adams after lackluster performances in the first three games. With the Bears, Adams played brief stints on defense. He made five tackles.
Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher told the Chicago Tribune he didn’t know Adams well because he arrived during the season.
“But I did know him,” he said. “I still saw him every day when I went into work. It’s just weird.”
Tommy Bowden, Adams’ coach at Clemson, was jolted by news of his death.
“I just couldn’t believe it was Gaines,” he said. “I will always remember the smile he had on his face, and I will always remember his patience.”
Reed may call it quits
Baltimore Ravens safety Ed Reed, a six-time Pro Bowl selection and 2004 Defensive Player of the Year, is considering retirement after an injury-filled season. Reed, 31, missed four December games because of a variety of injuries, including problems with his neck, hip and groin.
“It’s going to be a long offseason. It hurts. I am just thinking about it,” he said after a 20-3 playoff loss to Indianapolis. “I’m 50-50. I am going to re-evaluate things and see how it goes in the next couple of days.”
Bad news for ex-Bear
Former Chicago Bears defensive tackle Dusty Dvoracek has been arrested in Norman, Okla., on charges of public intoxication, assault and battery and interference with official process.
Norman police records indicate Dvoracek, 26, was arrested around 1 a.m. Saturday at a restaurant near the University of Oklahoma.
He appeared in 13 games in four seasons with the Bears after being drafted in the fourth round in 2006. He was placed on the waived/injured list in August because of a torn ACL in his right knee.
While at Oklahoma, he was temporarily dismissed from the Sooners after an altercation at a bar in Norman. He was reinstated after anger-management and alcohol-related counseling.