Newark, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) - Perhaps it's apropos that the cast of "Jersey Boys," the Broadway musical smash, will be hopping the Hudson to perform at the NFL's Super Bowl XLVIII Tailgate Party this weekend.
A few actual Jersey Boys have returned home this week for the Denver Broncos, including Willingboro native Shaun Phillips and Middletown's Knowshon Moreno. When things kick off in East Rutherford on Sunday, however, no one will be closer to home than Broncos free safety Mike Adams.
So much so that Adams has promised to walk to his childhood home of Paterson from MetLife Stadium in full Bronco regalia if Denver wins the big game over the Seattle Seahawks.
"(That was) excitement after beating the Patriots (in the AFC Championship Game), the veteran, who had 60 tackles and seven pass breakups during the regular season, said at Super Bowl Media Day on Tuesday. "I was just thinking if I go to the Super Bowl, I'm walking home. I'm keeping my equipment on and I'm walking home."
Win or lose, the last thing Adams wants to do is hoof the 11.7 miles it takes to get from the Meadowlands to his old stomping grounds, especially in weather forecasted to be about 25 degrees by the end of the contest.
"I'll tell you what, I won't be able to walk home in my cleats. I need some nice warm walking shoes," he said.
No matter the forecast, Adams is thrilled to have an opportunity to reach the pinnacle of his profession after a sojourn that has taken him from Passaic County Technical Institute in Jersey to the University of Delaware and finally the NFL, with stops in San Francisco, Cleveland and Denver.
"It was a long journey but at the same time, I won my first championship here, at the old Giants Stadium in high school," Adams said. "Now I have a chance to win a Super Bowl in the Giants' Stadium. It's a blessing."
A blessing which could turn into a curse with family and hangers-on trying to get at Adams in what is the most important week of his professional life.
"I'm from here. I live here. This is me," Adams said, embracing the extra attention he is getting. "This is my domain. I have a lot of people that will be rooting for me so it will be fun."
Things weren't always fun in Paterson, a dense, often crime-ridden city on the Passaic River.
"It wasn't always peaches and cream where I grew up," said Adams. "It was a challenge. Growing up in an neighborhood with there is killings, there's drugs and all of that, you have to have a strong mind, not just strong physically, but you need to have a strong mind to overcome all of that."
Now that Adams has overcome his surroundings the last thing he wants to do is point out the problems in his hometown without accentuating some of the positives.
"I don't want to gear toward all the negative things that are going on in Paterson," he continued. "I don't want to put any bad light on Paterson. I would rather talk about the positives that are going on, which is me going to the Super Bowl, me giving toy drives, coat drives, free haircuts. Like all this positive stuff (New York Giants wide receiver) Victor Cruz and ex-NFL player Gerald Hayes (also Paterson natives)."
To that end Adams also explained he had plenty of good times in North Jersey.
"Playing football in the street and your grandmother calling you when the street lights come on, telling you it's time to eat dinner. I think those were my favorite memories and moving out of the way for the cars to pass; things like that," Adams remembered.
On Sunday Adams hopes to add one more Super memory to the bank, a Super Bowl XLVIII win over the Seahawks.
"(Returning home) means a lot to me. Maybe if I do walk there, I'm pretty sure I'll get a warm welcome."