Continued from page 1

Adams hangs out with Milloy at local lunch spots, and at a basketball gym in Seattle’s suburbs. He said Milloy is so old fashioned, he loves to step back behind picks and shoot 3-pointers. No drives inside for flashy passes or shots, like most of Adams’ generation.

“Deep range,” Adams said. “It’s funny, though, he struggles doing anything else, like shooting off the dribble. But shooting off the pick? He’ll get (wild) on you.

“He’s worse on the basketball court than he is on the football field. Oh, waaaaay more competitive. I’ll be on another team, playing against him, and he’ll be screaming, ‘Push the ball! Push the tempo!’ I’ll be like, ‘You’re not on our team!’”

Milloy even helps his teammates with advice on how to invest their money.

“He’s the type of guy who will seek you out. He is the ultimate leader _ he wants to see you get better,” Adams said. “Sometimes he sees something special about a particular guy, and he latches onto him.

“He even talks to me about cutting my hair. He’ll be like, ‘C’mon, man, you don’t need your hair like that, man! Cut your hair!’”

Milloy said he wasn’t really thinking about retirement this spring. But the former Washington Husky was thinking about leaving his hometown team after riding its bench under former coach Jim Mora last season. Milloy had signed with Seattle after Atlanta set him free in a salary purge, after three seasons there.

But Carroll, true to his mantra of “always compete” that is boldly stamped on a big, new scoreboard next to the practice field, told Milloy he’d get a chance to start again _ provided he do some coaching, too.

“He told me to come here and compete for the job, lead by example,” Milloy said. “I told him last year I didn’t like sitting on the bench. I told him the only way I’d come back to this organization is if I knew I had a true shot to actually get on the field.

“Last year was a very humbling experience for me. I’m using that as fire to compete.”

Milloy is now to Thomas what former Patriots Willie Clay, Willie McGinest and Bruce Armstrong were to Milloy 15 years ago in New England.

“That’s the one thing that’s different now. That’s the biggest deal. There were more veterans around then,” Milloy said of those Patriots. “Older guys are almost obsolete now here.”

Asked if he senses Thomas is watching how Milloy conducts himself, the veteran said, “He needs to be.

“I got the blueprint for how you last in this league,” Milloy said. “It’s a very simple formula: You’ve got to be consistent in everything you do. … Go out there and make plays. Be humble. Respect yourself. Respect others around you. And always stay hungry.

“That’s how I’ve lasted so long.”