By Dale Grdnic
PITTSBURGH — Flozell Adams has seen a lot during his 13-year NFL career, but he hasn’t accomplished everything.
Sure, there have been Pro Bowls and playoff victories, but the man known as Flozell the Hotel has never played in a Super Bowl. And now he’s just one step away from that goal in his first season with his new team.
Adams and the Pittsburgh Steelers (13-4) play host to the New York Jets (13-5) in the AFC championship game Sunday at 6:30 p.m. at Heinz Field.
“It’s been a long career so far, but you just have to keep pushing forward,” Adams said Wednesday before practice. “I guess it’s better late than never, and you just keep pushing forward to that goal. It’s almost here. That’s a very nice stadium down there (in Dallas), a really good one.
“So, you can’t take that away from them. I guess it would be interesting for me to go back to Dallas, but I really don’t care where (the Super Bowl) is. The most important thing is to get to the Super Bowl. It’s the big one, and we’re almost there. But we still have to get past the Jets this week.”
Adams played 12 seasons in Dallas, primarily as the Cowboys’ left offensive tackle. So, it would be interesting for him to get back there after that club got rid of him and pointed to this season when it was host to the Super Bowl. Adams doesn’t like to look back.
“It would be cool,” Adams said of playing in the Super Bowl on the Cowboys’ home field. “But that’s not a major focus of mine. I don’t care if it was in Europe, as long as I win the Super Bowl.”
The Steelers’ offensive line has been able to overcome injuries to both tackles for the season, a couple guards to injury and attrition and replaced its previous Super Bowl center with a rookie. Signing Adams to a two-year contract just before training camp helped solidify the right side, but not immediately.
Adams struggled early on in camp and the preseason playing right tackle, playing like the novice that he was at the position and not like a veteran. He slowly picked things up, however, and was solid during the regular season.
In the club’s first playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, Adams was limited due to a severe illness. All anyone has to know is that it takes a lot to knock down someone who’s 6-foot-7 and 338 pounds. And flu-like symptoms with vomiting really knocked Adams for a loop.
Adams tried to go back onto the field when left tackle Jonathan Scott was injured, but he struggled. And head coach Mike Tomlin made sure he didn’t get back onto the field and hurt himself further.
“That was an ugly scene, but a beautiful one at the same time,” Tomlin said. “We appreciate his intentions. His intentions are very pure. This guy wants to win. He wants to be a part of a winner.”
Steelers rookie center Maurkice Pouncey was impressed with Adams.
“A guy like Flo, what a warrior,” Pouncey said. “He was super sick at halftime, so for him to come back into the game for the second half was amazing. I can’t believe that he tried to go back in there, because he didn’t look like he could walk. So, to try to play after that … it really was an amazing effort.
“But I think we have an amazing group of guys here on our O-line. Everybody has the same goals in their minds, so we’re working together to get there. That’s what it’s all about, working together as a team and fighting through adversity like we’ve faced all season. And Flozell’s been a big part of it.”
Adams is 35 now, and might not have much mileage left. The Cowboys certainly didn’t believe he could cut it anymore. He still has another year remaining on his Steelers contract and wouldn’t mind completing it.
“Sure, I’m happy right where I am,” Adams said. “To play for this organization, that would be a great thing for me. And wherever they want me to play. Left tackle, right tackle, anywhere. I’ll do what I need to do to be here.”
“And I’m looking forward to this game. It just took a couple days for it to run its course, but it did what it had to do. It was unfortunate to have that happen during the game, but I’m probably past it now. So, I’ll be all right.”
But the Jets’ defensive line certainly will be a test.
“They have a good defense, and they’re pretty good on the D-line,” Adams said. “You can’t take that away from them, so we just have to buckle up and go out there and play hard like we do every week.
“And we’ll do the best that we can to beat them. I think they’ll do whatever they can to beat us, so they’ll probably bring the heat like they usually do. A Rex Ryan defense is going to be tough, and we know that.”
But if his past performances are an indication, Adams will be up for the test.
Note: Adams did not practice Wednesday, but he is expected to be ready for the AFC title game.
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