Sam Adams was back with the Buffalo Bills' starting unit in Wednesday's practice, said he's fired up to face his former team in Baltimore on Sunday and did his best to downplay his benching against Miami.
"What I was pulled for was a family affair, and we keep those things in house," said Adams, referring to his teammates and coaches in using the word "family."
"It had nothing to do with my performance or playing time, period. It's an in-house thing that we deal with here."
Adams sat out the final 2 1/2 quarters of the game against the Dolphins after engaging in a heated exchange with coaches on the sidelines. The argument came after Adams initially refused to come off the field in favor of reserve Justin Bannan.
Adams met with Bills coaches Tuesday.
"We've talked, and I think that situation has been handled," said Bills coach Mike Mularkey.
It's apparent Adams thinks he could be used differently at times in the Bills' defensive scheme. Adams in the past has expressed confidence in his pass-rushing ability and his ability to penetrate into the backfield regardless of the situation. The Bills frequently have the 6-foot-4, 335-pounder fill a run-plugging role, tying up offensive linemen.
Is he satisfied with his role?
"It's not my place to talk about that here," Adams said. "What I'm asked to do is win football games and to dominate. That's what I'm asked to do, and when I'm not asked to do it, then I chill."
Adams on his feelings for defensive coordinator Jerry Gray: "I've been playing for a year and a half now. It's not like you can choose your players, and it's not like you can choose your coaches, and it's not like you can choose your opponents. I'm here to win a championship, period. And if it's felt that I can't help, then I need to sit on the bench and let somebody else do it. But that's not my choice. Nor do I disagree with it if I'm not performing. But that wasn't the problem."
Regardless of philosophy, Adams has had a positive impact on the Bills' defense. The Bills ranked 29th against the run in 2002. With the addition of Adams, linebackers Takeo Spikes and Jeff Posey and safety Lawyer Milloy, the unit improved to eighth in 2003 (and it was second overall in yards allowed). This year, the Bills' defense ranks fifth against the run.
Adams played on the NFL's third-ranked run defense in Oakland in 2002. In 2000 and 2001, the Baltimore defenses he played for ranked first and fourth, respectively, against the run.
Regarding the sideline argument, which the coaches obviously didn't appreciate, Adams said, "Things that happen on the sideline during a game, it's a family affair, plain and simple. That's all I'll say about that."
Teammates shrugged off the incident as game-day intensity.
"Sam's all right," said tackle Jonas Jennings. "He's just like anybody in the heat of the battle. . . . If you're an athlete and you're a competitor and you like to compete, sometimes those things happen in the heat of the battle. But the next day, you come back. Sanity comes again. You know what you did wrong, and they know what they did wrong. Everybody goes and we move onto the next week."
"He's real passionate about playing and about his game," said tackle Ron Edwards, who replaced Adams and had two sacks. "That's why players explode sometimes."
Adams is in the second year of a four-year contract with the Bills that pays him $2.25 million this year, $2.5 million next season and $3.5 million in '06.
The Bills outbid the Ravens for Adams' services in the 2003 offseason. The summer before, the Ravens gave Adams what he felt was an unsatisfactory contract offer, given the fact he had made two straight Pro Bowls. That prompted him to leave for Oakland.
"I was ready for the Ravens when they put them on the schedule," Adams said Wednesday. "I was ready for the Ravens when I left Baltimore. That's not even a question."
The Ravens rank second in the NFL in rushing offense but will be without star back Jamal Lewis. He's serving a two-game suspension from the NFL. Adams called the Ravens' offensive line "big, physical guys, and they're very aggressive."
"I don't like them, I've never liked them," Adams said. "They're my enemies right now. I won a championship with those guys, but that doesn't mean a thing. When we put it on Sunday, I'm coming to prove something."