As Jamal Adams' two-year NFL career has unfolded, he's received increasing acclaim, from Jets Nation, from local reporters and on national media platforms, and from opposing players, coaches and fans around the country who recently voted him to his first Pro Bowl.
Today, Adams learned he's received another important honor as he's been named the 2018 Curtis Martin Team MVP by a vote of his teammates. Head coach Todd Bowles recognized Adams as well as five other winners of Jets team awards at this morning's team meeting at the Atlantic Health Training Center.
"It means everything," Adams told Eric Allen of newyorkjets.com. "There's so many guys in there who you could name MVP. For those guys to pick me is definitely an honor and I don't take it for granted. I'm very fortunate and I appreciate those guys in there. They're all like brothers to me and I just can't thank them enough."
The numbers speak of the kind of sophomore season Adams is having — more than 100 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, 3.5 sacks, 11 pass defenses, one interception, three forced fumbles and one recovery. But the stats can't measure leadership, a skill that Adams feels he's improved on this season.
"It comes with time," he said. "A lot of guys kind of want to force the leadership role onto themselves. I honestly feel you're born with it. It's a special tool and I'm very fortunate to have it."
Adams, the Jets' sixth overall pick out of LSU in the 2017 NFL Draft, is the 58th winner of the Team MVP Award. (No award was presented after the New York Titans' inaugural season in 1960.) He joins Dainard Paulson in 1964 and Brian Washington in 1992 as the only safeties to be named MVP. He's also the eighth defensive player to earn the honor in the last 10 years. Also, at 23 years, 72 days, he's the fifth-youngest Jet to take home the MVP hardware.
Jets owner Woody Johnson had the Team MVP Award renamed in 2007 for Martin, the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Jets Ring of Honor running back who was voted team MVP by his teammates four times, more than any other player in franchise history.
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These are the other Jets who received team awards today:
Steve McLendon — Dennis Byrd/Most Inspirational Player
McLendon, the defensive lineman who spent his first six seasons with the Steelers, is now finishing his third season with the Jets and has received his second Byrd Award in a vote by his teammates after sharing last year's award with LB Demario Davis.
Defensive players have claimed the last seven Byrd Awards, including Byrd, who was honored posthumously after dying in an automobile accident in 2016. Byrd won the Jets' first Most Inspirational Player Award in 1992 after he was paralyzed during a game earlier that season. The award was named after him beginning in '93.
Quincy Enunwa — Ed Block Courage/Most Courageous Player
Enunwa, the wide receiver who rehabbed from a serious neck injury that cost him his entire 2017 season and was a key contributor on offense this season, was named winner of the Ed Block Courage Award, which each year goes to a player by a vote of his teammates on each of the 32 NFL teams. The award honors players who exemplify commitments to the principles of sportsmanship and courage.
Enunwa, who was the Marty Lyons Award winner in 2016, is the fifth Jets WR to receive the Block award and the first since Jerricho Cotchery in 2008.
Jonotthan Harrison — Marty Lyons/Community Service
Harrison, who enjoys "going to different schools around New Jersey and talking to kids about my experiences with being bullied in grade school, has been named the winner of this year's Marty Lyons Award for Community Service by a vote of the Jets staff.
He is the second center (Kevin Mawae won it twice, in 2001 and '05) and the sixth offensive lineman to gain the honor since its inception in 1990. It's named after Lyons, the former Jets first-round draft pick, member of the "New York Sack Exchange," Ring of Honor member, current radio voice of the Jets, and longtime proponent of community service through his foundation.
Avery Williamson — Kyle Clifton/"Good Guy"
Williamson, the fifth-year linebacker and first-year Jet, is the recipient of the Kyle Clifton "Good Guy" Award as voted on by the Jets staff. He is the third LB to be named "Good Guy," following Clifton himself in 1996 and Bryan Cox in '99.
Avery is the first defensive player to win the Clifton award since D-linemen Sione Pouha and Marcus Dixon split the honor in 2011.
Chris Herndon — Bill Hampton/"Rookie Who Acts Like a Pro"
Tight end Chris Herndon is this year's winner of the Hampton Award, which honors each year's rookie who most acts like a pro in the locker room. The award is voted on by the equipment staff and past recipients of the award.
Herndon is the third TE to win the "Hamp" since the first award went to S Erik Coleman in 2004. He's also the 11th offensive player to get the award, compared to two defensive players and two kickers.