Steamboat High School graduate Joel Adams plays primarily on special teams for the Buffs. He is the only athlete in CU history to letter simultaneously in football and Alpine skiing.

University of Colorado/courtesy

Steamboat High School graduate Joel Adams plays primarily on special teams for the Buffs. He is the only athlete in CU history to letter simultaneously in football and Alpine skiing.

The goodbye game

Steamboat grad, CU Buff leaves field with no regrets

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University of Colorado/courtesy

Steamboat Springs High School graduate Joel Adams, a three-year walk-on with the University of Colorado football team, takes the field for the final time today against Nebraska.

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University of Colorado/courtesy

Joel Adams plans to pursue a career in commodities trading after he graduates in December.

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University of Colorado/courtesy

Joel Adams has no regrets about giving up his Alpine skiing scholarship so that he could play football at Colorado. He also was a member of the school's 2006 national championship ski team.

— Doing what's easy and comfortable never has been a trademark of Joel Adams.

So, it's no surprise that when the 2003 Steamboat Springs High School graduate finishes his degree at the University of Colorado in December, he'll look for a job as a commodity trader in Chicago - despite one of the most difficult economic climates in memory.

Adams originally attended Colorado on an Alpine skiing scholarship. He was the only skier to qualify for the National Championships in 2005, and he was part of CU's national championship-winning team in 2006.

But Adams wanted to play football. He was a walk-on in 2005, forfeited his scholarship because of NCAA rules and now is preparing to play his final game as a Buff today at rival Nebraska.

Adam's football journey hasn't been easy. He has played sparingly on special teams during his three years. But when he looks back at his choice and experience on the football field, only good memories come to mind.

"It's funny, I was talking to (CU safety) Ryan Walters the other night about how I was happy I've had all these experiences through football," Adams said. "They're something no one can ever take away. If I would have just stuck with skiing, I could have gotten All-American or whatnot. In football, I wasn't the guy in the spotlight. It's been a humbling experience. It's been a cool experience."

For Adams, the past three years seem to be flashing before his eyes. He said Senior Day against Oklahoma State two weeks ago was a special experience. He said practices the past couple weeks have been different, knowing that after today's game, his career as a Buff likely is over.

"It's tough that these could be the last couple practices," he said. "But I've had a great time and met some great friends I'll have the rest of my life."

Adams also will walk away from the program with the distinction of being the only athlete in University of Colorado history to letter in Alpine skiing and football. The only other athlete ever to attempt to do both was Jim Hoeschler.

Adams said his journey from scholarship skier to walk-on football player prepared him for the next step in life.

"I've developed a certain work ethic," Adams said. "I've always been a competitive guy. I always want to work hard, and that will carry over into a career. I've learned a lot of things here that will definitely help me out."

- To reach Luke Graham, call 871-4229

or e-mail lgraham@steamboatpilot.com

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