RENTON, Wash. (AP) — When he first got word the trade was going down and he was on the move, Jamal Adams grabbed his phone and reached out to one of his closest friends.
It happened to be Quandre Diggs, the guy Adams will line up next to Sunday when he makes his Seattle Seahawks debut in the opener against Atlanta.
“He’s like a brother to me, and we’ve known each other for a very long time,” Adams said. “We always talked about, ‘Man, what if we played together?’”
Diggs was Seattle’s midseason acquisition a year ago, while Adams' arrival was the result of an aggressive move the Seahawks made in July to acquire what they saw as a missing piece. They are part of a back-seven that should be among the best in football.
“It’s going to start with the DBs. We set the tone,” Adams said. “Any time we step on the field, we set the tone.”
The bond between Adams and Diggs was established years ago when Diggs was in college and Adams was still in high school. Diggs was a starter at Texas and was tasked for one weekend with hosting Adams — then a star prep player in the Dallas area — on his official visit to Austin.
“I think the official (visit) was dope,” Diggs said.
Or as Adams recalled, “Quandre wanted me to come (there) very bad. He was my host. We had a great time on Sixth Street. I’ll never forget it. We had a great time.”
Eventually, Adams opted to play his college ball at LSU, bypassing his chance to stay in his home state and play alongside Diggs. But the connection made during that visit has lasted into their NFL careers.
“I feel like Quandre tries to treat Jamal like a little brother,” Seattle linebacker Bobby Wagner said. “They go back and forth about that. But it’s cool to have guys like that back there communicating, seeing what you see, understanding what you understand. It definitely allows you to play a little faster.”
The duo gives Seattle the most versatility it has had at the safety position since the combo of Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas anchored the Legion of Boom secondary that took the Seahawks to consecutive Super Bowls.
Diggs can play the single-high free safety spot that allowed the Seahawks to play as much man coverage as they did when Thomas was patrolling the back end. Adams is more than happy to be a thumper near the line of scrimmage in the same way as Chancellor, but he may bring even more versatility because of his knack as a blitzing pass rusher.
Combined with Shaquill Griffin and some combo of Tre Flowers or Quinton Dunbar at the cornerback spots, the Seahawks' base secondary has a chance to be exceptional.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. praised Diggs for being the leader of the group.
“This is gonna be probably one of the best secondaries we’ve had in a long time,” Norton said. “Just for the fact that (Diggs) has been so calm, collected and smart and works well with everybody. Great communicator. So I’m really excited about the development we’ve had so far.”
More AP NFL: https://apnews.com/NFL and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL