SAN DIEGO — For the past two years, he has led the Chargers in rushing in the exhibition season.
He also has been the team's leading rusher in every regular season game he has played.
Gary Anderson? Tim Spencer?
Neither. The answer is Curtis Adams.
Just who is Curtis Adams?
If you don't pay attention to exhibition games, don't feel bad if you have never heard of him. He has played in only one regular season game.
But Sunday, chances are good that Adams will be heard from again. Because Anderson is the Chargers' only healthy running back, he will likely be activated to play against Denver.
In 1 1/2 pro seasons, Adams' career has consisted primarily of playing in exhibition games and being on injured reserve.
"The thing with injured reserve is that sometimes it is emotionally difficult," Coach Al Saunders said. "You're at practice every day and are not able to compete. Most of your time is spent in the process of rehabilitation. It's very frustrating having the highs and lows of trying to get better. Like anyone else, you want to compete and play."
Adams played in the regular-season opener against Buffalo in 1985, rushing 16 times for 49 yards and 1 touchdown as the Chargers won, 14-9.
However, he suffered a knee ligament injury late in that game. Though Adams said he was fit to play five weeks later, the Chargers decided to keep him on injured reserve the remainder of the season.
"When a guy is out five or six weeks and others are doing better, there's no reason to bring that player back," Saunders said. "You have two choices: waive him or keep him on the team and let him work. If you keep him and something happens, you're able to bring him back in an active role."
Basically, injured reserve players amount to what college scout-team players are. They run the upcoming opponent's formations in practice to familiarize their teammates with what they will face.
But Sunday inactivity has disagreed with Adams.
"It's terrible," he said. "It's always terrible when you're able to play and they don't really need you."
Adams was San Diego's most active rusher in the 1986 exhibition season, gaining 163 yards in 51 carries.
However, he suffered a separated shoulder in the final exhibition game 10 weeks ago.
According to Adams, he has been well enough to play for a couple of weeks.
"I want to play," Adams said. "I have to go out and show them that I should've been playing. Let's put it that way."
Adams was an eighth-round draft choice from Central Michigan in 1985. He set Mid-American Conference records with 43 touchdowns rushing in his career and 44 overall touchdowns.
In the 1985 exhibition season, Adams rushed 40 times for 187 yards and 1 touchdown.
Sunday, Adams may finally get to prove he is more than an exhibition player.
"All the preseason means is making the team," he said. "Other than that, the preseason means nothing. It's time for me to play in a real game."