Adrian Amos has been nothing short of elite as an athlete and leader at every stop along his football career. After graduating in 2011 from Calvert Hall in Baltimore, MD, Amos signed with Penn State University.
Upon arriving in Happy Valley, Amos made an immediate impact for the Nittany Lions, playing in every game at Cornerback and on Special Teams as a freshman. His remaining three seasons saw him earn Honorable Mention spots on the All-Big Ten Conference Football Team in 2012-2014.
After the 2014 season, Amos was selected to participate in the 2014 Reese's Senior Bowl. Soon after, Amos was selected by the Chicago Bears in the 5th round (142nd Overall) in the 2015 NFL Draft. In Chicago, Amos immediately became the Bears’ starting Strong Safety and enjoyed a stellar rookie season that earned him a place on the 2015 Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) All-Rookie Team. In 2017, Amos had a steller season and found himself a First Teamer on the 2017 Pro Football Focus (PFF) NFL All-Pro Team.
Following the 2019 NFL season, Amos left the Chicago Bears for the NFC North rival Green Bay Packers, signing a 4-year, $37 million contract. In 2021, leading up to his second season in Green Bay, Amos was selected by his teammates to be a team captain for the Packers, his first time being a captain in his career.
Before the 2022 NFL season, Amos sat down with us and discussed a wide range of topics including his career, his foundation, and about why, starting this season, he’ll be wearing the Q-Collar:
Why do you play Safety?
“Safety is just the position that I basically grew into. Growing up playing rec. football, I was a quarterback and I played quarterback all the way up until the 9th or 10th grade. In 9th grade I was like 5’2”. Going into my sophomore year, my coach said, ‘If you want to play Varsity, you have to play Corner.’ So, I went and played Corner. Then, I got my growth spurt. Who knows? If I got my growth spurt in the 9th grade, maybe I’d still be a Quarterback. Everything happened for a reason though. By my senior year I was playing everything. I was playing Wildcat Quarterback. I played Tight End a little bit. I played Safety too. I moved all around and that’s kind of how my versatility started. When I went to college, I played mostly Corner. Then I played Nickelback and Safety on some downs. I wasn’t a full-time Safety until I got drafted by the Bears.”
What physical attributes do you need to have to be successful?
“I mean being physical is just part of my playing style. When you grow up, you’re taught that football is a violent sport. It’s physical with everything that you do. Whether you’re pressing, you’re tackling, everything you do is fast. Everyone at this level is fast and strong. You can’t shy away from contact, and you can’t be thinking too much. You’ve got to go. Even the people that aren’t known to be physical, they still have to be physical to be playing this sport. They might not be as physical as the next man, but everybody in the NFL is somewhat physical.”
What’s the mental side of football to you?
“The mental it’s both in studying, but it’s also emotionally like when we talk about mental health as far as not getting too down or too high. You have people judging you 24/7. You have to be even keeled. When you mess up, you have to be the same person. Growing up, I may be the same today, I wasn’t the best with handling losing and being a sore loser. When I was younger, I’d be mad when I’d lose, and I wouldn’t want anybody to talk to me. I still do it from time-to-time. Having kids, that helped me coming home because my two sons, they don’t care if I lost or won. When I come home, I have to change how I’m acting as far as that.”
What would you say is one of your best strengths?
“I think it’s come to be being able to be level. I don’t get too mad; I don’t get too down on myself. I don’t get too high either. The fact I don’t get too high, a lot of people make fun of me about it. That I don’t get overly excited about stuff. I feel like that helps me for the opposite in that I don’t get overly down. You have to stay even the whole time because this sport especially will humble you real fast. I play DB, everybody gets beat. There’s not one Corner or Safety that hasn’t been beaten. You have to be able to bounce back fast and in that same way you can’t get too high. Regardless of what’s going on, I try to be level. I try to be consistent. In this league I think you have to be consistent week-in and week-out or year-in and year-out. One of my other strengths as a football player is I feel like I’ve gotten better each-and-every year. Even now, I feel like I am still getting better.”
What are some things that you do when you train that make a big difference and what are some of your recovery methods?
“COVID might have helped me as far as training because I’ve built basically my own training facility. My trainer, P.J., and I found something that works for me. Working on speed. Working on being explosive. Working on flexibility. Stuff like that in the offseason. Learning how to read my body and evaluating if something is helping me like if I need to take a break or do I have more in the tank? I think a big thing for me during the season is Tramon Williams, when I met him as well, I saw a lot of things that he did to recover his body. He played until he was 38 years old and that’s somebody that’s still in shape, he’s still flexible, he can still do all this stuff. He had a routine where he took care of his body well. He did massages, yoga, stretch yoga, I don’t do too much of the guided meditation part, stuff like that. I took a lot of things from what he did and implemented it into what I do. The stretching part definitely helps me during the season. As explosive athletes, we get tight, especially me. Even if I only do it once a week, that’s going to help me tremendously.”
What would you say is your pregame routine?
“I wake up in the morning and do the normal stuff. I put on gospel music. Gospel music calms me and it’s Sunday morning usually so that’s what I do anyways. I listen to gospel music after thanking God for waking me up that morning. It keeps me leveled. I don’t do anything to crazy in my pregame routine. I like to get to the stadium on the early bus because I daydream a lot before the game. When I get there early, I sit in my locker for a while. I somehow always end up rushing anyways. I go get a long warm-up in before I do anything. As years have gone by, I’ve evolved in that I definitely warm up a lot more now than in the past. After I get a good warm-up in, I’m ready to go.”
Did your approach to the game change once you became a father?
“It makes you think about stuff more. You start thinking about how many years you have left playing. When I’m making decisions now, there for more than one person. I’m thinking about where they’re going to school. It’s the same thing as my approach to the game. When I’m coming home, I have to think about my mental approach to coming home. I might need to sit in the car for a couple of seconds to cool off because when I come in, I’m getting jumped on. I can’t be like ‘go sit down’ because I’ve been gone all day. It makes you think about more than yourself when it comes to having kids.”
Do your sons love football? Do they look up to you not just as a dad but as someone they want to be like?
“I don’t know if they fully understand everything that is going on. They are 3 and 2. My 3-year-old follows everything that I do. If I walk funny, he’s going to walk funny. One of the benefits of having my facility here where I can train at home is that he is out there trying to do the same things that I’m doing. IF he misses a day, he’s screaming, he’s yelling because he wants to be out here. He picks up stuff quick. When he’s out there, he can be off on his own and do the same exact thing as me. He’s seeing how to work early on. That’s a big thing for me, being able to be with them even more. Even when I’m at work. They can be right here and that’s been great for me.”
What were your first impressions of the Q-Collar?
“My first thoughts were ‘how can something that you just put around your neck (help protect your brain)?’ I’m always interested because of concussions. Both as someone who has had concussions before, and that it’s a big topic. You watch the movie ‘Concussion’ and you see the studies on concussions. We just got concussion protocols not too long ago. I remember being at Rec. ball and hitting somebody and they’d say, ‘It’s just getting your bell rung.’ I’m lucky that I’ve had coaches like my father who were there to teach me how to tackle and keep my head out of it at a young age. When you’re on the field, you’re trying to take their head off. When you see something like (the Q-Collar) and hear that it can help, the first thing is that I’m intrigued, and I want to listen to more about it. Then, when I saw the explanations of what it can actually do and where the science comes from. To me, I figured why not try it. Why not see if it can help because it can’t hurt to try it out.”
What would you tell other parents about the Q-Collar regarding whether it would be right to get for their son or daughter?
“I know it’s already in their minds as to whether they should let their kids play. I know I tell people that they should make their kids play flag as long as they can. They should play flag at a young age because their brain’s still developing when you’re that young. Those are the times that you are most susceptible to having long-term effects because you’re taking hits that young. If feel that if you’re going to play, then let’s make it as safe as possible. You see something like this is lowering risks and lowering injuries, maybe you can still enjoy playing tackle football when you’re young. As of right now and knowing how I was in rec. ball with the amount of hits that I took, I’d say that if my son is playing then he’s going to have something on. Especially since I’m wearing it and I can see the effects of it, he’ll definitely be wearing the Q-Collar.”
What’s the biggest misconception for younger players who say they want to go to the NFL?
“It’s not just football. There’s a lot that comes with it. It’s an actual job. You’re punching in the clock and then even when you’re home, you’re still working because you got to be ready. Anything that you do when you’re in the top 1%, regardless of whether or not you say you want to be in the NFL, you really want to be at the highest level. Being at the top 1% of the game, there’s a lot of studying that comes with it. There’s a lot of longer hours doing extra because the person next to you is doing extra and you’re probably not as good as them. It’s a full-time job. There are long hours. The only time it’s really just football is on Sundays when you actually get on the field and play. There’s a lot of pressure that comes from the outside. There are limited positions and there’s more people around the world that play football now. I wouldn’t change this being my dream because it is a dream come true but the dream is a lot harder to get to that point than you expect growing up.”
Do you have a proudest moment from your career?
“I don’t know if I have a proudest moment. I have some of my top plays. I have Playing in Baltimore and coming back home, my first interception that I scored on in Baltimore. My grandma was in the press box. My great grandma on my mother’s side and my grandma died within the same year, two years ago. That grandma didn’t have dementia and she was still into sports. She’d call ‘screen’ and I still have videos of her watching the clip over again. She was up in the press box for my first game in Baltimore against the Ravens when I was with Chicago. I had a pick-six and we won so that’s one of my top moments. Then there’s other moments like my first playoff game I got an interception in, but we lost that game. All my playoff experiences, those were all great and are very memorable to me.”
What is your foundation? How did it start and what does it mean to you?
“The Adrian Amos 'I'm Still Here' Foundation we started a few years ago. Growing up, my great-grandma had dementia and my grandma took care of my great-grandma. I’m a grandma’s boy so I always used to be at her house, and I used to help her with my great grandma. I then saw the process begin with my grandma, she had Alzheimer’s and dementia, and she started to decline fast. That was hard for everybody in the family because early on, we didn’t pay attention to that stuff enough. We thought this person is sad or whatever and they just have to suck it up, but she’s the strong one in the family. Dementia doesn’t discriminate. It hit her hard and then a few years ago, she passed. About a year before she passed, we started the foundation. We started doing research and I started to find out more things about dementia, I started paying way more attention to mental health. I started paying way more attention to my father and mother because you can pass it down. Now, there’s way more research about everything. I see that a lot of these studies about concussions and Alzheimer’s are linked in regard to mental health later on in life. That’s something I’m passionate about because of my grandma and what she went through. Also, I’m big with the youth, like being around kids, teaching kids. I want to give back because I used to be around the Greenmount Rec. Center and my father used to help out around there a lot so that became a passion of mine and I wanted to also give back to the youth. That’s why I decided to put both things together and help with both things that I am passionate about."
What motivates you to hold your camp?
“Coaching is something that I like to. When I’m done playing, I’m going to get into coaching in some capacity. Not college or pro or anything like that but like high school or something even lower like rec. ball. I feel like younger kids are more willing to learn and I have a lot to teach and to offer. I can also be home to see all my kids’ games and stuff like that too. Tomorrow (Adrian’s camp), that’s something that’s fun for me. We got 150 kids signed up within two days so now next year, I want to be able to have two sessions or two days so we can get a lot more kids in. That’s something that’s fun and I feel like should keep growing.”
Could you imagine life without football?
“Yes. I was saying to my father recently I could. I also said to my father,, ‘If it's my time to be out of football, then it is what it is.’ I already got stuff in the works like my brand, I want to coach, and I have a lot of other business things that I want to do that I’ll be competing in as well. That’s what I’m looking forward to. I’m looking forward to my son’s getting older and I can coach them. Whatever they do, I’m going to try and coach. However, I want to play as long as I can. I don’t have a cut-off for myself because then with a longer career, we can really talk about legacy. If I can play, it’s going to eat me up every August if I’m not out there because I’ve never not played football come August since I was 7 years old. To not have that, of course early on it’s going to hurt, but I’m going to be ok. I want to play until I can’t win races anymore. That, or my sons tell me at some point that they don’t want me to play anymore. I want to play as long as I great. If I don’t feel great, I’m not going to be out there ‘half-stepping’ or anything like that. Right now, I’d like to do a combine and compare myself now to then. I feel like I might be faster and stronger now than I was then. I feel like I haven’t reached my ceiling of what I can be. I feel like I have a lot of years left.”
What’s going to be your legacy when you retire? How are people going to remember you?
“I don’t know. I haven’t really thought about what my legacy is until maybe when I started having kids because I’m thinking about how they will think about their daddy when he’s done. I’ll tell them stories and things like that. As far as legacy, just that I did it the right way. I’m god-fearing. I helped give back the things that I got because somebody like my father, everybody knows him for helping out a lot in the community. Everybody knows my grandma a lot for helping out in the community. My mother is very giving. She helps everybody. I get a lot of my giving spirit from my family. I know she sacrificed a lot for us when we were growing up. I just think about how I view my mother, how I view my father, how I view my grandma, and I want to be viewed in that life. God blessed me with certain talents, and I worked hard to get where I need to go. I can’t put it into one sentenced how I want to be viewed, but I’m going to absolutely strive for greatness. I want to be great at football. I want to be great at life. I want to be the best father. I want to be the best husband. I want to be the best Christian, if there is such thing as that.”
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