Rodney Adams and his inspirational path back to the NFL

The wide receiver was out of the league for two years before deciding he wanted another shot.

Rodney Adams Chicago Bears
(USA Today Sports)

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Good morning, frents!

So in the span of a few hours on Tuesday, Javy Baez apologized to Mets fans, went first to home with an El Mago slide for the winning run and had half the organization looking around home plate for his lost earring.

"El Mago gonna be El Mago."

Truer words were never tweeted.

Tuesday's results
Sox 4, Pirates 2
Cubs 3, Twins 1
Mercury 103, Sky 83

Today's schedule
Pirates at Sox (7:10, NBCSCH)
Cubs at Twins (7:10, Marquee)

Rodney Adams makes the team

If Rodney Adams wasn't already one of your favorite Bears to root for in 2021, he will be after you finish this piece.

The 26-year-old wide receiver grabbed one of the team's coveted 53 roster spots on Tuesday, extending one of the season's best early stories. Adams was one of five receivers to make the roster, beating out names like Riley Ridley, Dazz Newsome and Jon'Vea Johnson.

Now, there typically aren't many bad stories at the bottom of NFL rosters. Grinding out one of those last spots with determination and perseverance usually makes for good copy. It's part of what's made Hard Knocks so popular.

And it's a shame the Bears never do Hard Knocks, because Adams earning his first NFL roster spot since 2017 is particularly noteworthy. His path to this spot has been filled with both tragedy and a couple of twists and turns that only add drama to the story.

Here's the quick newsletter version:

  • Adams was a high school star in Tampa and headed to Toledo on a full scholarship in the fall of 2013. Just a few months into his freshman year, he received life-shattering news: His mother, Michelle Conway Scott, was killed in a car accident.
  • Adams took legal guardianship of his younger brother and transferred back to South Florida to take care of him. Despite the added responsibilities and grief, Adams played well enough over the next three seasons to be drafted by the Vikings in the fifth round of the 2017 draft.
  • He was on the Vikings roster for one game in 2017, but spent most of the year on the practice squad. Overwhelmed by the loss of his mother and family responsibilities, Adams decided to retire the following spring while on the Colts' practice squad.
  • Adams went out to Hollywood and started working as an actor for almost two years, appearing in an episode of Modern Family and a couple of commercials.
  • In January 2020, he told his wife that he wanted to give football another try. He rejoined the Colts and then signed with the Bears in August after he was waived by Indianapolis. He spent last season on the Bears' practice squad, trying to impress where he could.

It's at this point of the story that you might know some details.

Adams started turning heads at Halas Hall with his speed and hands. He was a standout in three preseason games, catching 10 passes for 161 yards.

That total included a 73-yard touchdown from Andy Dalton that Adams caught just hours after the birth of his daughter. Adams celebrated by rocking the ball like a baby in the end zone.

Oh, and his daughter's name? Brexleigh Michelle — her middle name is in memory of her grandmother.

Adams isn't on easy street just yet. He'll still have to earn his keep in a receiving corps with Allen Robinson, Darnell Mooney, Marquise Goodwin and Damiere Byrd.

But he's also not above pausing a moment to appreciate everything it took to earn this chance with the Bears.

“Given what I have gone through, just getting to this point is a huge, huge goal and accomplishment for me,” Adams said to reporters during camp. “Stepping away for two seasons and then coming back and being at this part of camp and having the two games that I’ve had, it’s huge. I mean, I don’t want to say not a lot of people can do it, but at the same time not a lot of people are strong enough to stay the course, to get to this point."

More: Kevin Fishbain breaks down the Bears' final roster, which has the oldest average age in the NFL and some big needs at cornerback.

I hit the inboxes of paid members with the special monthly mailbag last night. Other questions answered include:

  • Best Bears books?
  • Timeline for Arlington bid?
  • Can the Fire ever fill Soldier Field?

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News and results

Lance Lynn goes on IL before Giolito injury scare

Let the September rest begin. Lynn is expected to miss one start with right knee inflammation while Lucas Giolito will be re-evaluated today after leaving last night's 4-2 win over Pittsburgh with a left hamstring issue. Tim Anderson rested his legs another game as well.

  • Neither Yasmani Grandal nor Jose Abreu paused for a breather. Both hit homers in the win while five relievers picked up the game from Giolito and didn't allow a run over 4 2/3 innings.
  • The Sox have won four of their last five.

Next: Carlos Rodon (10-5, 2.43) vs. Mitch Keller (4-10, 6.75)

Frank Schwindel stays hot in Cubs win

Anthony Rizzo's replacement continues to outhit his predecessor. Schwindel hit a homer in Tuesday's 3-1 win over Minnesota, his second in as many games. The 29-year-old first baseman is slashing .340/.390/.629 with six homers and 18 RBI since being claimed off waivers from Oakland in mid-July.

Next: Justin Steele (2-2, 4.15) vs. Joe Ryan (0-0, 0.00)

1. Kevin Goldstein with a fantastic piece on scouting Jose Abreu in Cuba and what might have been had he arrived in MLB sooner. Fangraph

2. Brendan Sugrue talks to Jim McMahon about his new "Mad Mac" documentary. Bleacher Nation

3. Rodger Sherman ranked every Bears quarterback since Super Bowl XX. All 45 of them. The Ringer

4. Jack Silverstein on why Dennis Rodman loved Michael Jordan, but not David Robinson. A Shot on Ehlo

5. Mark Wilson with a great 8-minute video that went behind the scenes at the Field of Dreams game. Fast Company