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mesaSteeler
02-01-2011, 07:19 AM
http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/sports/steelers/print_720723.html

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Gorman: Steelers go with 'Flo'

By Kevin Gorman
PITTSBURGH TRIBUNE-REVIEW
Tuesday, February 1, 2011

FORT WORTH, Texas -- Flozell Adams passed through airport security Monday morning and, to his astonishment, spotted all of the Steelers' offensive linemen wearing his green Michigan State No. 76 throwback jersey.

That they wore them on the plane to Super Bowl XLV in Dallas wasn't just a show of solidarity but a not-so-subtle shot at Cowboys owner Jerry Jones.

The Steelers have made Adams a rallying point this postseason, vowing to win a Super Bowl ring for the 13-year veteran offensive tackle who had one career playoff victory in a dozen seasons in Dallas before being released last April.

"Guys just want to win it so bad for him," wide receiver Hines Ward said. "The greatest compliment you can get is our whole offensive line showed their respect for him by wearing his jersey. We've got so many storylines on this team, but that one is special: We want to win the Super Bowl for Flo."

This wasn't the Steelers' first Super Bowl publicity stunt. They wore No. 6 Notre Dame throwbacks to honor Jerome Bettis in his Detroit homecoming in 2006. "The Bus" was a Steelers legend, playing one last season in hopes of winning a Super Bowl ring. "The Hotel" is a newcomer, seeking the same result in his first season with the franchise.

The Steelers will take motivation wherever they can find it.

"Most of the guys have a Super Bowl ring here, but one is never enough," said Adams, crediting linemate Trai Essex as "master planner" for the throwbacks. "You always appreciate when guys show some love, so I'm grateful for it."

The gesture put a perpetual smile across Adams' face yesterday, replacing the 6-foot-7, 340-pounder's surly scowl and menacing glare. Even Steelers coach Mike Tomlin made reference to that reputation.

"Flozell is a joy to be around," Tomlin said. "It might sound funny because he doesn't always have a great disposition, but we enjoy that about him, too."

Adams, with a laugh, took exception to the description.

"I'm not in a bad mood all the time," Adams said. "It just looks like it."

What Adams looks like is an absolute steal for the Steelers, who signed him to a two-year contract in late July after starting right tackle Willie Colon was lost for the season with an Achilles injury.

There were a couple of concerns about Adams. At 35, he's in the twilight of a stellar career. He was the second-most penalized player in the league since 2005, allowing eight sacks last season. And, to make matters worse, he hadn't played right tackle since college. Adams has started every game, picking up only a handful of penalties.

Talk about your throwbacks.

"I can't say enough about what (offensive line coach) Sean Kugler did with him and what Flozell did in accepting that change, to move to the right side," Steelers director of football operations Kevin Colbert said. "I mean, it's a five-time Pro Bowl guy going into his 13th year and he's willing to make that move. It was fortunate for us."

What the Steelers didn't anticipate was how easily Adams would be accepted or how hard he would work. He was the consummate professional, spending extra hours watching tape and working on technique with Kugler to make a seamless transition.

"We went over the whole shebang," Adams said, "like I was a rookie."

All in the quest for a shot at the Super Bowl.

"The thing that's probably the most impressive about Flozell is that his intentions have been so pure since the day that he joined our football team," Tomlin said. "He's a guy that's made some money in this league, that's garnered some personal accolades in this league, five-time Pro Bowler or what have you -- this guy just wants to win, and he's brought that talent and approach since day one. He's a veteran player who doesn't ask out of anything, who works extremely hard, he has a can-do attitude. All of those things endeared him to his teammates. There's a lot of respect there.

"Those guys felt it necessary to honor him, and I'm glad that they did."

Adams acknowledges how special it is to finally reach the Super Bowl, especially in Dallas, and appreciates the grand gesture the Steelers made in his honor by finding a way to turn talk of payback instead to that of throwbacks.

Come Sunday, he hopes to return the favor.

Kevin Gorman can be reached at kgorman@tribweb.com or 412-320-7812.

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