Anthony Waters told the New Orleans Times Picayune's Mike Triplett that he "broke down" when he heard that Gaines Adams died of cardiac arrest due to an enlarged heart on Sunday morning. The Saints linebacker was Adams' roommate when they both played at Clemson and they remained close after launching their NFL careers.
"We were pretty much like brothers," Waters told Triplett.
Waters said at first he thought it was Adams' father who had died because they share the same name.
"I just couldn't accept it. And I really still can't accept it, but it's true," Adams said. "I just talked with him last week, and we were planning to get together as soon as we finished with our Super Bowl run and everything here.
"So it's been a difficult week. But I'm just trying to maintain for him because he was a real strong person and he didn't want nothing but the best for everybody."
Bears coaches, players and front-office personnel will take a private plane provided by the team to Friday's funeral, which will begin at 12 noon Chicago time at Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley, S.C., which was chosen because it seats more than 3,000 and is one of the few venues in the Greenville area that can accommodate the expected mourners. The Buccaneers, who traded Adams to the Bears for a second-round draft pick in October, are also chartering a plane. Many of Adams' Clemson teammates are also expected to attend.
Waters said he'll try to attend the service but may not be able to because the Saints are continuing preparations for Sunday's NFC Championship Game against the Vikings.
"It just hurts because I know what he meant to his family, what his family meant to him and what he meant to pretty much everyone he came into contact with," Waters said.