Gaines Adams Dies at 26

Zack NallyCorrespondent IJanuary 17, 2010

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 18: Defensive end Gaines Adams #90  of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers warms up for play against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Jacksonville  Municipal Stadium on August 18, 2007 in Jacksonville, Florida. (Photo by Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images)
Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images

Chicago Bears defensive end Gaines Adams was pronounced dead Sunday morning at Self Regional Hospital in Greenwood, SC.

Gaines was rushed to the emergency room in the early hours of morning and, while the cause of death or concern is still unknown, the coroner has divulged that Gaines appeared perfectly healthy before his death was pronounced. An autopsy is scheduled for later today.

It seems 26 is the unlucky number right now in the NFL. This story strikes a chord as it follows the death of Cincinnati's wide receiver Chris Henry no more than a month ago, also at the tender age of 26.

The league and it's fans alike were only just healing from Henry's tragic loss and are now faced with another to overcome. 

Gaines, a former Clemson University star, was drafted with the fourth overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 2007 draft. He was traded to the Bears in October of last year for a second round pick in April. 

He appeared in 15 games with the Bears last season and recorded one sack, two forced fumbles, and three safeties. 

During the 2007 draft, in a time when character was on the chopping block, players like Adam "Pacman" Jones and Florida's Marcus Thomas were only projecting the attitude that had cast such a flawed shadow over the league.

Adams was one of the few players who countered that image and showed that good character was not something of a rare nature in the NFL. Although later he and a few others at the combine admitted to using marijuana, it didn't stain or reflect in his personality. 

He continued to be a positive influence in the locker room and appeared to be headed in the right direction by adding himself to an already budding Bears defense. 

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