Last season, Josh Adams believed he found a home in the NFL. Literally, one less than an hour away from his Warrington residence.
Now, he has added another hour to his trip.
The former Central Bucks South running back, who gained nearly 4,000 yards with the Titans, had a breakthrough season with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2018 as he emerged as the team’s leading rusher with 511 yards and a 4.6 average per carry. Philadelphia signed him as a free agent from the University of Notre Dame, where he was the school’s fifth all-time leading rusher.
But the 23-year-old quickly discovered how the NFL can sometimes strictly be a business.
After offseason labrum surgery, the 6-2, 225-pound Adams didn’t produce similar numbers in the preseason and was released by the team Sept. 1. However, the next day, Adams was signed by the New York Jets.
“It’s a blessing,” said Adams about his new landing spot. “It is always a blessing just to be able play this game.
“Moving from Philly to Jersey isn’t a long trip, and my family is able to come out and support me. I’m just glad to be here and be a part of what is being built here.”
Ironically, Adams was signed by Jets’ general manager Joe Douglas, who worked in the Eagles’ front office when Adams was there.
“He was one of the people that I talked to first when I signed with the Eagles,” said Adams. “I told him that I was hungry and ready to prove myself. He gave me the opportunity, and now I have the opportunity again with the Jets, thanks to him.
“I can’t wait to see what happens.”
Adams’ release by the Eagles was a shocker to most local fans as he was leading all running backs at one point with a 7-plus yards per carry.
He attributed it to a position purge that included some last preseason signings.
“I thought I did pretty well in the preseason,” stated Adams. “It’s always about numbers in the league and sometimes about timing. It just wasn’t the right timing, but I am thankful for the opportunity they gave me.
“I was healthy at the time and I just tried to make the most of it.”
Yet, like it has in the past, fate fell in his favor.
“It was a great relief that I had a job again,” said Adams. “I just packed my car up and drove down here. I wasn’t thinking about being cut, but just happy to be working again.”
Looking back, Adams began to understand the workings of the league in his season in Philadelphia.
“It was a big learning experience my rookie year,” said Adams. “It was about learning the game and also the business end of it.
“I knew nothing was going to be handed to me, and I had to take advantage of everything that I could. It didn’t matter what I did the previous year with them (Eagles), and they felt that this (release) was the right move.”
“I just had to focus on what I could control, and trying to help the team.”
Adams spent the first two months on the Jets’ practice squad before he was activated Nov. 5.
It proved to be another enriching experience.
“I knew I had to pick up the playbook as quick as I could,” said Adams. “For me, it was a lot of fun. I could work on my game and go up against the starting defense, and there isn’t any better test for me than that.”
Adams realizes that getting playing time will be a major undertaking with Le’Veon Bell, Bilal Powell and Ty Montgomery ahead of him on the team’s depth chart.
Still, it is about living out a childhood dream for the 23-year-old. Heading into this weekend, Adams has played in two games, gaining 12 yards on eight carries.
He wants to maintain a positive perspective of the situation.
“It’s a good thing because you have the best guys in the room, and you get to compete with them,” he stressed. “They push me to be a better player and I feel fortunate to be around them.
“I want them to do well and I’ll push myself.”
Adams admits the trips back home haven’t been as frequent as the rides up routes 95 and 611.
“My rookie year I was commuting to South Philly and each day I got tired of it with the traffic,” he said. “I’ll try to get home for the holidays, but I feel settled here.”
Knowing the odds are against him, Adams is optimistic that he has found a new NFL team close to home.