Gaines Adams, 26, passes away Sunday morning

by - Senior Writer -
Adams returns a fumbled field goal snap, at Wake Forest in 2006, for 66 yards and a touchdown to help erase a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit.

The Clemson family has lost another great one.

Gaines Adams, the former Clemson defensive lineman and member of the Chicago Bears, passed away Sunday morning, leaving everyone affiliated with Clemson in total shock.

Clemson lost a beloved friend in the soft-spoken Adams, who was 26, and according to Greenwood County coroner Jim Coursey, appeared to be in good health. An autopsy will be performed on Sunday by a forensic pathologist in Anderson County.

Coursey said Adams was dead upon arrival at Self Regional Memorial Hospital. He was pronounced dead at 8:21 AM.

Adams was the fourth overall selection in the 2007 draft by the Tampa Bay Bucs. Tampa traded him to the Bears in October for a second-round draft pick in April.

“This is a sad day for Clemson Nation,” said Clemson head coach Dabo Swinney, who was wide receiver coach of the Tigers during Adams’s playing career. “Gaines was not only a great player at Clemson; he was an outstanding young man.

“He was a great example of how you could progress through hard work. He played eight-man football in high school, and then became a top five pick. How many people have done that. I was an offensive assistant coach during his career, and we all took notice of his considerable skills. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family.”

Former Clemson head coach Tommy Bowden, who was Adams’ head coach during his college career, also released a statement

“I was shocked and saddened to hear this news,” Bowden said. “When I heard the news I thought it was his father because he has the same name. I just couldn’t believe it was Gaines. I will always remember the smile he had on his face and I will always remember his patience. To go from eight-man football, to prep school, then to red-shirt, he waited his time, but proved it was worth the wait. Then he showed his patience when he came back for his senior year and could have gone pro after the 2005 season. This is a great loss and our prayers to out to his family.”

To anyone that was in Winston-Salem that day, or watching on television, he will always be remembered for one of the more memorable plays in Clemson football history when he returned a fumbled field goal snap, at Wake Forest in 2006, for 66 yards and a touchdown to help erase a 17-3 fourth-quarter deficit.

Adams was named 2006 ACC Defensive Player of the Year following the conclusion of his senior season.

Adams lettered for the Tigers from 2003-06 and finished his career with 28 sacks, tied for first in school history with Michael Dean Perry. He was named first-team All-American by every service in 2006 when he was also named ACC Defensive Player of the Year. He was second in the overall ACC Player of the Year voting that year to Calvin Johnson of Georgia Tech.

He was also one of five finalist for the Bronko Nagurski Award and one of six finalist from the Ted Hendricks Award in 2006 when he had 63 total tackles and 12.5 sacks.

Over his career, Adams had 168 tackles, including 44.5 tackles for loss and 28 sacks. He played in 48 games, 26 as a starter, and had 21 passes broken up, most ever by a Clemson defensive lineman, three fumble recoveries and five caused fumbles.

Adams received his undergraduate degree from Clemson in December of 2006. He came to Clemson after one year at Fork Union Military Academy in Virginia. He played his high school football at Cambridge Academy in Greenwood, a program that had eight-man football.

In April of 2007, Adams was the number-four selection of the NFL draft by the Tampa Bay Bucs, tied for the highest draft choice (Banks McFadden 1940) for a Clemson football player.

Adams had just finished his third season in the NFL. He played half of this past season with Tampa Bay, then was traded to Chicago. He had 13.5 sacks in his 47-game NFL career.

Funeral arrangements will be announced at a later date.

Please stop by and sign the sympathy card, which we will send to his family.

Sympathy Card

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