Dave Rimington, Tommie Frazier, Ndamukong Suh, and Grant Winstrom are all names that you think of when you hear the words Nebraska Cornhuskers’ football. Personally, I feel Adam Carriker deserves to be mentioned with the all-time greats to ever be apart of the Cornhuskers’ rich tradition of excellence. Adam was a 6’6 296 lb freak of an athlete who had the motor of a guy trying to earn a scholarship. You mix Adam’s god given talents with the work ethic of a champion, and you get yourself a 2016 inductee into the Nebraska football Hall-of-Fame.
Adam finished his Nebraska career with 134 total tackles, 41 tackles for loss (5th in Nebraska history), and 19.5 sacks (6th in Nebraska history). As a senior in 2006 Adam was named the Big 12 Defensive lineman of the year, as well as a First-team All-Big 12 pick by Big 12 coaches and the AP for the second consecutive season. He used all that momentum to catapult himself into the 13th pick of the 2007 NFL draft by the St Louis Rams. He then enjoyed an 8 year career with the Rams and also the Washington Redskins as he punished the biggest and baddest Offensive linemen the world had to offer.
Now as a retired pro, Adam hosts his own show named The Carriker Chronicles which our website RealBallInsiders helps distribute on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s. The show features Adam’s less menacing side where he interviews former Nebraska players, coaches, and fans like Larry The Cable Guy. It only made sense that we reached out to another member of the RBI family and ask him to be apart of my weekly special. I figured with all the great content Adam puts out about other people on the site, I’d return the favor and give the fans a look inside the mind of one of the greatest Cornhuskers’ ever.
Here is my conversation with Adam Carriker.
- P. A: When I think of your playing style I picture Nebraska defense. You’re relentless, you’re passionate, and you’re blue-collar. Did being a part of the black shirts play into deciding where you were playing college ball? Why Nebraska?
– Adam: My dad grew up in a small farm town Giltner, Nebraska, my dad’s whole side of the family is in Nebraska, and I was born in Hastings, Nebraska. We only moved to the state of Washington because of his job. In the fall, everything revolved around Saturday’s and whether Nebraska won or lost. I remember one year they lost a game and then had a bye week, it was the longest two weeks ever. So, as I got older my dad didn’t even realize it, later on when I got older he goes, “I didn’t even realize it as y’all were growing up in the house.” I was like, “Well what did you expect? That’s all we used to watch in the house.”
– P. A: I’m from Austin so the Texas Longhorns are close to my heart. I remember that’s how I was first exposed to you. What made Vince Young so hard to chase down and then tackle? Is he the most athletic QB you’ve ever faced?
– Adam: As far as PURE athleticism I would say Michael Vick. What was tough about Vince [Young] was he was fast AND strong, he was a big guy who that could move. If you get a hold of Mike Vick you were going to bring him down, you just have to get a hold of him. With Vince [Young], it’s a situation where you have to get a hold of him and even if you do, he may not go down right away.
– P. A: I mean this next question with all due respect, when the ball was snapped I saw the same intensity that Bobby Boucher had in The Water Boy. You seemed to lock in and focus on your target and there was nothing that could stop you. What’s going on through your head before AND after the ball is snapped?
– Adam: I mean it’s interesting. Most people who know me where I live now never knew me as a football player. And I think they would be shocked if they ever saw who I am on a football field. There’s just this switch that flips, and it’s completely different. There is this literal transformation. So, now when I hit the gym and that IPhone music goes on it’s like something switches in me, I don’t even have to think about it, it just happens. It used to be the same way when my foot would step across the white lines onto the field. It was almost the same transformation when I crossed the white lines to come back off the field. So it was just a switch that flipped, maybe it was my outlet.
– P. A: So the NCAA tournament just ended on Monday. You played for the NCAA system. You’ve seen first-hand the amount of revenue your hard work brings in. I want to be clear about this question, should the NCAA athletes get paid?
– Adam: It’s interesting because if you look at the amount of money that’s made versus the amount that’s given to NCAA athletes it’s not even comparable on any sort of reasonable scale. Now, the problem is in my mind, if you start paying NCAA athletes I start feeling like it’s just a minor league system for the pros. I have always been in favor of keeping [payment] in the form of a scholarship check. There’s other ways that you can give it to them without it being outright payments. I think college athletes should remain amateurs. I never asked for any money while I was in college, everything I got was from my scholarship check. My dad gave me $50 bucks for Thanksgiving one time, that was it. Everything else was on me, and that’s the way I wanted it. I say that to say this, the checks the Virginia Tech guys were a lot higher than the checks we got. It’s a little bit more expensive out there than in Nebraska, but I would just say find other ways to give them more money without just outright paying them because then you lose that amateur status and it’s just not the same thing.
– P. A: Let’s transition a bit more to your NFL career now, can you describe the feeling when Roger Goodell read your name as the 13th pick in the 2007 NFL draft? Was it everything you expected?
– Adam: I got the call from the Rams head coach Scott Linehan a few minutes before [Goodell] read it. From the instant I got the call it was it was utter chaos because I was up with my parents were having a draft party. Now keep in mind, when I got drafted, saying this makes me feel old now, they invited everybody under god’s hot sun to the draft party now, 1st rounder’s, 2nd rounder’s, everybody. When I went it was the top 6-8 guys and that was it. It was completely different, in fact, my year was the year Brady Quinn dropped to 22nd and they took him out of sight from the cameras because that was so embarrassing him dropping that far. So we had a big draft party with my parents in Washington State, we get the call and the moment he announces my name.. Oh my god.. I was on the phone with so many people. I had to be on a flight to St Louis in two hours, I never really got to celebrate with my parents because I was gone. Everybody in the entire St Louis media was talking to me and doing interviews. It was CRAZYNESS, I really didn’t get to settle down and enjoy it until about 48 hours later. It was interesting, to this day I never really got to enjoy it with my folks once that call landed, it was just insanity.
– P. A: During your 8-year career who was the best football player you played with or against?
– Adam: The best player I ever played against personally would be Larry Allen. I mean, if you go on YouTube there’s a video of him benching 800 lbs. He’s the strongest guy in NFL history, I’ll never forget the week we were getting ready to play them during my rookie year, it was my second career NFL game ever. Coach Haslem, our defensive coordinator at the time, was looking at me smiling all day. All I could say was, “What? Why are you looking at me like that?” He goes, “You’re going up against the greatest guard in the history of the NFL, also the strongest man in the history of the NFL. And the whole time he was like chuckling, which you know as a coach about to go up against him, I wouldn’t be chuckling, I’d be kind of nervous. I can’t be having this guy getting his butt whooped in the middle of my defense, I guess he had some confidence in me so he wasn’t too concerned. But Larry was a first ballot Hall-of-Famer, in my opinion not only the strongest player ever, but the best guard in the history of the NFL. And he had a mean streak to him, one of the meanest players I’ve ever played against as well.