LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Bloodlines and past performances are paramount in the Bluegrass this time of year. But, I’ll get to the Kentucky Derby this weekend.

Thursday night in Philadelphia, former University of Kentucky running back George Adams and his son, Jamal, will celebrate a moment we’ve seen only from remarkable football families.

Think the Mannings. Or the Winslows. Or the Matthews.

A father & son with matching first-round NFL Draft credentials.

George Adams, 54, earned his first-round card when the New York Giants selected him with the 19th overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. A product of Lexington Lafayette High School, Adams ran for more than 2,600 yards in four seasons with the Wildcats.

His son, Jamal, gets bragging rights on Pops Thursday night. After a dazzling three-season career at Louisiana State, Jamal is projected to be taken as early as the second overall pick in the 2017 draft. He’s certain to make the top seven picks and be the first safety summoned to meet NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.

“I can’t tell you how excited his Momma and I are,” Adams said by telephone from his home in suburban Dallas. “I’m more excited about Jamal than I was when the Giants drafted me.

“It’s your baby, your son, somebody you’ve worked with your entire life. I’m sure there will be plenty of tears at our table (from the Draft Green Room) when Jamal’s name is called.”

Jamal Adams is a kid who started playing football when he was 3.

Flag football. At 3? I couldn’t hold a football at 3.

“It’s a Texas thing,” George Adams said. “Being from Lexington, I grew up with basketball, basketball, basketball. People in Texas are the same way about football.”

Jamal delivered his first licks when he was 8, playing running back, quarterback, defensive back, anywhere he was needed, separating himself from other kids with his ability in junior high school.

His first scholarship offer came from his Godfather, Joker Phillips, then the head coach at Kentucky. Jamal was 15. Phillips continued to pursue Adams when he moved to Florida. So did most of college football’s heavyweight programs.

He picked LSU over Florida – and then performed like one of the best defenders in the Southeastern Conference for three seasons in Baton Rouge. He had 76 tackles, including 7 ½ for a loss, plus an interception and fumble recovery at LSU last season.

Most projections have Cleveland investing the first pick on Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett. George Adams said Jamal has visited San Francisco, Chicago, Jacksonville and Carolina, teams that pick second, third, fourth and eighth.

At 6 feet 1, 213 pounds, Adams can play either safety spot. “He could play cornerback if he had to,” George Adams said. “He can cover guys in the slot, tight ends or go out and match up with wide receivers.”

One reason Jamal Adams plays defense is that his father played offense.

George Adams said that when you watch him walk today the first thing you will notice is his limp.

“One leg is quite a bit longer than the other,” Adams said. “I’m in pain every day.”

There is a reason for that. Both hips have been replaced, repairs made necessary from the blows Adams absorbed running the football at Lafayette, UK and in the NFL. He made 638 rushing attempts at Kentucky and another 257 carries in six seasons with the Giants and Patriots.

“I wanted Jamal to be the one making the hits, not taking the hits,” Adams said.

Aren’t there injuries on both sides of the ball? It’s a sport created around collisions, controlled violence as much as violence can be controlled.

“My son has loved football since he was 3 years old,” Adams said. “I would never discourage him from doing something that he loved. It’s been a blessing to watch him grow and follow his career. His Mom and I didn’t miss any of his college games.”

They won’t miss Thursday night in Philadelphia either. George and Jamal Adams are about to join an exclusive football club.

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