Former Patriots Guard Sam Adams Passes Away

Patriots news release…

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – The New England Patriots are deeply saddened to learn of the loss of former guard Sam Adams, who played with the Patriots from 1972 through the 1980 season. Adams passed away at the age of 67 in Houston, Texas.

“This is really sad news for Patriots fans who enjoyed watching Sam Adams play and the many Patriots teammates who played with him throughout the 1970s,” said Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft. “Not only was he a stalwart in the trenches for nearly a decade, but I can’t think of a more appropriately named player to represent the Patriots.

For the majority of his Patriots career, he played right guard, opposite John Hannah at left guard. The two helped form the most formidable offensive line in franchise history and, quite possibly, one of the best in league history. In 1978, Sam started every game and helped pave the way for the Patriots to rush for 3,165 yards, an NFL record that still stands 37 years later. My thoughts and prayers are with his family and all the friends who are mourning his loss.”

Adams started in 90 of 119 games during his nine seasons with the Patriots after joining the team when he was claimed off waivers from Dallas in 1971. After spending the 1971 season on the New England practice squad, Adams made the team in 1972 and started at both guard and tackle before settling into a more permanent position at right guard. In 1978, he joined left tackle Leon Gray, left guard Hannah, center Bill Lenkaitis and right tackle Shelby Jordan to form one of the most dominant lines in NFL history.

Each of the five offensive linemen started all 16 games that season and powered the Patriots to an AFC East division championship with an 11-5 overall record. That season, the Patriots set an NFL team record by rushing for 3,165 yards. Remarkably, the record was set without a 1,000-yard rusher, as Sam “Bam” Cunningham led the team that year with 768 yards rushing. Adams’ play at right guard earned him a place on the Patriots’ 1970s All-Decade Team.

Adams originally entered the NFL when he was drafted by the Los Angeles Rams in the 1971 Supplemental Draft out of Prairie View. Following his nine seasons with the Patriots, Adams finished his NFL career in 1981 with the New Orleans Saints.
Adams’ funeral services are scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 17 at 2:30 p.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ House of Prayer in Jasper, Texas.