They are the two biggest players on the Dallas Cowboys‘ roster, even though they are obviously not the most well-known.
Just how big are they? Well, it’s reflected in their physiques — and their nicknames.
Flozell “The Hotel” Adams, the 340-pound left tackle, and Leonard “Bigg” Davis, the 353-pound right guard, were both Pro Bowl offensive linemen last season. They help do the dirty work, protecting Tony Romo and opening holes for running back Marion Barber.
Adams could have been a free agent during the offseason after 10 years with the Cowboys, but never hit the open market. He instead signed a $43 million contract through 2013 that virtually guarantees he will play his entire career in Dallas.
When Adams decided to stay, that meant Davis got to remain at right guard, where the former No. 2 overall pick and Texas native flourished in his first year with the Cowboys. Davis had six disappointing seasons in Arizona, the last three at left tackle for the Cardinals.
“That kept this thing with continuity,” Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said. “He’s such an anchor and means so much to us, Leonard Davis, that Flo’s departure might have disrupted that.”
The Cowboys will return with all five starting offensive linemen, including two-time Pro Bowl center Andre Gurode, guard Kyle Kosier and tackle Marc Colombo.
Adams has been to four of the last five Pro Bowls, missing only in 2005 when he was limited to six games because of a knee injury. Those are the only games the 33-year-old Adams has missed in his career.
No player has been on the Cowboys roster longer than Adams. Only linebacker Greg Ellis, the first-round pick in 1998 before Adams was drafted in the second round, has been in Dallas as long.
“It’s amazing when you think about that, because guys get shipped around a lot over the years, especially after the first four or five,” Adams said. “I’m still working as hard as I always have, and I’m just hoping to do the best I can.”
Adams has been a constant, fending off blockers and protecting a dozen different quarterbacks — from Hall of Famer Troy Aikman to Romo. Adams is one of the team’s strongest players, and by the count of coach Wade Phillips allowed only one sack all last season.
“You don’t have to worry about him, I think that’s a good statement,” Phillips said. “Sometimes you tend to overlook him because they do a good job all the time.”
While the Cowboys roster has been overhauled the past few years, Jones hasn’t had to worry about left tackle, considered the most important for protecting quarterbacks from defenders.
“I’ve appreciated him for a long time,” Jones said with a smile.
Davis was signed to a nearly $50 million, seven-year deal when he became an unrestricted free agent in 2007. The Cowboys wanted him to play guard, and to have as protection should Adams not be at left tackle for some reason.
Davis would have been willing to move back outside, if needed. But he’s happy that Adams stayed and he can remain at guard, the spot he’d now like to play the rest of his career.
“There is no jumping around. Guys have got to take me on. There’s no running around, so to speak,” Davis said. “And, for the most part, the guys I am playing against, I have more athletic ability than those guys.”
But other defenders better watch out when the 6-foot-6 Davis starts moving around. Even with his big body, Davis is so agile that the Cowboys likely will have to do more pulling blocks this season.
“Leonard is a real football player that can dominate in a lot of areas,” Phillips said. “We found out that’s what he can do besides just dominating a defensive tackle. He can pull and help us on off-tackle plays and even outside plays.”