RENTON, Wash. -- Seattle Seahawks safety Jamal Adams, who is set to make his 2023 debut Monday night against the New York Giants, revealed that he briefly but legitimately considered retiring in the immediate aftermath of the serious leg injury he suffered in last season's opener.
Speaking to reporters Friday for the first time since tearing his left quadriceps tendon, a candid and introspective Adams recalled bawling in the locker room when he got the news that his season was over and how he found himself in a "dark place" as a result.
"It was tough," he said. "I thought about retiring. I thought about a lot of things. Is this going to be it for me? I didn't know. But I knew eventually, after I got that MRI, I told myself I'm going to be back. I didn't know when or how, but I was going to figure it out."
Asked why retirement was a consideration, the 27-year-old Adams pointed to all the injuries he has suffered over the past three seasons and the toll they have taken on him mentally. In addition to his torn quad tendon -- which connects the quad muscle to the kneecap -- Adams has suffered two torn shoulder labrums as well as less significant injuries to his groin, elbow and fingers.
After missing only two games over his first three seasons with the New York Jets, he has missed 28 of a possible 53 regular-season games since the Seahawks acquired him in a blockbuster trade in 2020.
"I was having all types of thoughts running through my mind, but at the time when I did tear my knee, that was definitely something I was considering," said Adams, who has three seasons and $45 million remaining on the $70 million extension he signed in 2021. "I was considering everything at the moment. I was in a dark place. Not on anything suicidal, but definitely in a lot of dark times as far as getting away from the game of football, getting away from people. At the time I wasn't really talking to many people, wasn't answering my phone. So you go through real life situations in this game of football."
Returning in Week 4 against the Giants was Adams' goal all along. Knowing his recovery would sideline him well into the summer and prevent him from playing in the preseason, he figured he would need at least three weeks of practice during the regular season to get game ready.
Monday night's game will also mark his first time playing at MetLife Stadium since he was traded.
"Obviously it's a special place for me," Adams said, "being back in New York and being back home."
Adams was activated off the physically unable to perform list Aug. 24 but only took part in walk-throughs until he returned to practice in Week 2. The Seahawks listed him as a full participant Thursday and Friday.
Coach Pete Carroll said at the start of the week that Adams would have no restrictions. But when asked if the Seahawks will have to limit Adams' snaps in his first game in over a year, defensive coordinator Clint Hurtt said they will feel that out as they go.
Adams' injury occurred in the first half of the 2022 opener when he planted his left foot while reaching for a scrambling Russell Wilson.
"Just getting up and knowing that it's not attached, it was devastating," Adams said. "I walked off, or I tried to run off as best I could, but I knew something was wrong when I got to the sideline and I seen my kneecap to the right of my knee. They told me the news. That was hard. That was a low moment for me, man."
Adams had surgery a week later and had to spend more than 20 weeks in a straight cast. During that time, he needed assistance to perform routine tasks like getting out of bed, using the bathroom and taking a shower.
"I couldn't do anything by myself," he said.
Monday night's game will mark the unveiling of the Seahawks' plan to get Adams back to his 2020 form. That year, he set the single-season record for sacks by a defensive back with 9.5 in 12 games. He didn't have a sack in 12 games in 2021 then played less than a half in 2022.
"I haven't hit anybody in a long time," he said. "I'm looking forward to it, man, I'll tell you that. I won't take a play for granted. I won't take a moment or a second for granted. Just to be able to fly on a plane with my teammates is going to be big for me. Just to be able to come up here and speak is big for me. Just to be able to sit down in the seats when Pete's up here in team meetings is big for me. I wasn't able to sit down in a seat for 20-plus weeks, so it's a real humbling experience that I went through.
"My mindset is a lot sharper. The details of what I went through, nobody could honestly understand unless you've been through it. It's definitely something that I don't wish on anybody, but I made it out. I'm just looking forward to the journey. I'm looking forward to the season. I'm excited to be back."