With the sun just beginning to show in the 5 a.m. sky, Saskatchewan Roughriders defensive lineman Marcus Adams is ready to start yet another day filled with viewing play tapes, working out and dedicating grueling hours to his love…football.
“If my feet don’t move I don’t eat,” said Adams. “I’m just like everybody else when I get up in the morning and go to work. The only thing that differs from me and many others is that I love my job. I’ve been working a long time to get to where I am, and it’s been nothing but hard work.”
Since playing in the Ben Davis cadet league in 1987, Adams has dedicated his life to reaching his goal of playing professional football. For the past six years, he has been living that goal at the Mosaic Stadium in Regina, Saskatchewan with the Canadian Football League.
“The CFL gave me a shot,” the 29-year-old Eastern Kentucky University alum said. “When I was in college, NFL recruits would always come to my school to see me play but because my weight and height aren’t average for my position they really wouldn’t give me a chance. Here it’s more about your ability to play the game, not how big you are.”
Nicknamed “Chunky” for his 5-foot-10, 275-pound frame, Adams has always seen his physical structure as an obstacle on the field.
“Yeah, he’s not the typical size of a defensive tackle and never has been,” said former Ben Davis High School football coach Dick Dullaghan. “His explosive power, coachability and continual effort make him good for the position and an overall true football player.”
Having had previously coached Adams’ two older brothers, Coach Dullaghan was able to see the Roughrider’s talent at a young age.
“He would come to our youth football camps with a positive attitude and unbelievable work ethic,” Dullaghan said. “Marcus truly is a prime example of what working hard can get you. I’ve coached for 38 years and of my boys that have gone pro only a few have been able to last as long as he has. That truly is a testament of how special he is.”
Finishing his 2007 season starting in 16 games with 35 tackles and six sacks, Adams is proving that he is the right man for the position.
“Ideally, they would want me to be 6-foot-4 and 400 pounds, but everyday I think about those who doubt my ability and I try to prove them wrong whenever I touch the field,” he said.
Coaches and colleages agree that Adams’ dedication is helping him succeed.
“Marcus defines what hard work and determination can do for a football player,” said Saskatchewan Roughrider defensive line coach, Ron Estay. “While he may not be the prototypical defensive lineman in terms of size, he continues to work that much harder than everyone else ensuring his starting spot in the line-up.”
Adams is not just making noticeable moves on the field. During his down time, he spends time talking to local students about his story and how to fight peer pressure in order to reach personal goals.
Also, Adams created the Chunky Tackles Breast Cancer Foundation in honor of his mother, Judy Adams, who is currently battling the disease. Every time he sacks, tackles or the Roughriders win a game the foundation receives funds for breast cancer research.
“Growing up, I would always see my mother work two jobs and struggle to support my family,” he said. “Her strength is my biggest motivation to continue to work hard and achieve, so that I can help her and my family out.”
Currently, the Saskatchewan Roughrider is getting ready for his July 4 game against the British Columbia Lions at BC Place Stadium in Vancouver, BC.
“I’m achieving my personal goal everyday,” Adams said. “I don’t mind the hard work and long hours I dedicate to my job because I simply love playing football.”
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