Josh Adams left the Notre Dame Fighting Irish early to pursue an NFL career, only to find himself undrafted. The 6-foot-2, 225 pound running back signed with the Philadelphia Eagles as an undrafted free agent, made his way off the practice squad and ended up as the team’s leading rusher.
With Adams recovering from January surgery to correct a torn labrum, the Eagles drafted former Penn State Nittany Lions running back Miles Sanders in the second round. Sanders and Adams are part of a crowded room that also includes Corey Clement, Jordan Howard, Donnel Pumphrey, Boston Scott and Wendell Smallwood.
Adams called in from Philadelphia to discuss his recovery as well as earning his psychology degree this spring with Jack Nolan.
Jack: “I understand that you underwent some off-season shoulder surgery. How are you doing with that right now?”
Josh: “Yeah, I mean I’m coming along. Recovery has been pretty good to me. You know, most of it is just me trying to be patient. But, other than that, you know I’m just still trying to continue to grow and trying to take care of business. Basically, just trying to be patient with the whole process.”
Jack: “I know pre-season practices, off-season practices, very regimented what you can do each week. I know the first week has just been completed. Phase two is next week. The OTA’s coming up at the end of May. What can you do right now with the team?”
Josh: “I mean, I’m really doing a lot of things. Obviously, you know, anything that has to do with contact I probably won’t be able to do until later down the road. But there’s obviously very few things that I’m limited to. But, on the other side of that, is again being patient and trying to make sure that I do make a full recovery and that I’m not trying to rush back into things just because of my competitive nature.”
Jack: “A bunch of your former teammates are following the road that you followed last year to the NFL. Six drafted, five signed as free agents. What are your thoughts on some of the guys who are going to be trying to play against you next year?”
Josh: “I mean, yeah, I love it. It’s amazing to see those guys and see my family. You know, try to accomplish their dreams. That’s why a lot of those guys, they did that. You know, I wish nothing but the best for their future. Because, again, I was in their same position. And all you want to do is get to that place where you’ve been dreaming about your whole life. So, I’ve been paying attention the whole weekend. You know, rooting for every single one of those guys and it’s just great to know I have the opportunity to play against some of those guys. So it’s going to be nothing but fun.”
Jack: “Obviously, you want to be drafted as a player. Especially in the early rounds. But if you drop to some of the later rounds, a lot of folks have said, you are sometimes better off not getting drafted. You didn’t get drafted. And yet you signed with the Eagles, a good fit, and you ended up being their leading rusher for the season last year with 511 yards, 112 carries and 4.3 yards per carries average. How did you use the motivation of not getting drafted and turn that into a great rookie season?”
Josh: “Whether you’re drafted or you’re not drafted, there’s always the challenge of, you need to go all in and put the work in. So, you know, the draft obviously, everyone dreams of getting drafted. And they don’t really dream of what happens when that doesn’t happen. ... But at the end of the day, when you get in, you tie those cleats up and you put that equipment on, everybody’s there just like you. And, you know, it’s all about what inside of you and how much that you want it. You know, I know those Notre Dame guys are great because they have a lot of fire inside of them. So I don’t worry about any of those guys whether they were drafted or not drafted. So, I’m really excited. Not only for myself, but, you know, for those guys to see what they do on their team.”
Jack: “Now, you’re calling us from Philadelphia. But a lot of folks had seen you on campus this semester. For those who don’t know, tell us why you were back on campus this semester?”
Josh: “So yeah, I went back to campus to finish my degree and complete my credits for my degree. You know, obviously, most people know that that was a part of the big decision to decide to leave early is, you know, first of all, why are you leaving early and what are you going to do about your degree? And it was always my intention to go back in and finish what I started. And part of the reason I was leaving early was to show kids or anyone who looks up to me that, you know, it’s okay to go back and finish what you started. You know, regardless if you went to go chase your dreams or you just took a break. You should always finish what you started and me going back was taking that first step and finishing what I started and getting my degree from Notre Dame. You know, while it was challenging, I had a lot of fun returning to campus and talking to different people. Taking class again. Just those little things. Everything a part of, you know, my end goal of getting my degree.”
Jack: “Josh, great to talk to you again. You’re making everybody back here proud. Best of luck for another great season with the Philadelphia Eagles.”
Josh: “Alright, thank you.”