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Bengals' Adams: I'll be in shape when the season starts

| Thursday, Aug. 3, 2006

GEORGETOWN, Ky. - With the rest of the Bengals scrimmaging on another field Wednesday, defensive tackle Sam Adams' massive frame was plodding in a conga line alongside a handful of injured players barely half his size.

Cincinnati's big — as in, 350 pounds plus — free agent acquisition is on the list of players who are physically unable to perform. But he scoffed at that characterization.

"I'll be here when the real bullets fly, when it comes time to play," said Adams, wearing a T-shirt reading "Big Daddy."

Fans may wonder when their new star run-stuffer will be suiting up against the first-team offense. His answer: it doesn't matter, as long as he's prepared for the season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the league's best running teams, and their All-Pro guard.

"You want to see me get out there and knock heads?" Adams said. "You want me to do it senselessly• I could just go run my head into that wall just to do it. Or, if we're getting ready to play ... what I'm saying is I'll be ready. Come Kansas City, I'll be ready for Will Shields."

Adams, a three-time Pro Bowler, signed with the Bengals in April, ending an often contentious tenure with the Buffalo Bills and their former coach, Mike Mularkey, who benched him for most of the second half of the season.

But Adams insisted that chapter is over and said he's excited to be reunited with coach Marvin Lewis, who was his defensive coordinator for the 2000 Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens. He also went to a Super Bowl two years later with the Oakland Raiders under his current coordinator, Chuck Bresnahan.

Although Adams was expected to be a main piece of what could be a much-improved Bengal run defense, the focus now is all about conditioning. He's listed at 350 pounds but is believed to be above that. He won't reveal the true number.

Adams good-naturedly brushed off questions about his midsection.

"Do I look like I need to lose some weight?" he joked, patting his belly. "My wife loves me."

As for the conga line, Adams said he has plenty experience moving his feet from chasing his three young children around the house. Wednesday's pre-lunch routine may not have appeared strenuous, but he insisted the tougher stuff came much earlier.

Under strength coach Chip Morton's conditioning program, players must wake up by 5:30 a.m. and complete their first workout by 7 a.m., Lewis said. Adams joked that he'd better not find Morton in a dark alley.

"I don't think you want to be on Chip's team during this camp," Lewis said. "Sometimes practice is a lot better."

If anybody suspects he's dogging it, Adams said, they should just wait until the season begins.

"I like to physically dominate the guy that's in front of me — that's it in a nutshell," he said. "I like to beat on him. I like to hurt him. I like to do whatever it takes to make sure that I get my job done. Fight, kick, scratch, bite — it doesn't really matter. It comes from the heart."

Other players on this defense have similar philosophies, Adams said, giving high hopes for the team and himself regardless of when he suits up for practice.

"When do I think I'll be out there with the rest of the guys• I don't know," he said. "I mean, I'll still make the Pro Bowl, we're going to win the Super Bowl and I will contribute — duly noted, I hope."

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