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 Post subject: Antuan Edwards eyeing the safety position
PostPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2005 11:12 pm 
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Edwards gets fresh start with Falcons

FLOWERY BRANCH — Out of football, hurt again, Antuan Edwards started to think his career was over.

He was released by New England in August, after just two months, with a broken thumb. It was his third team in two seasons, his fourth overall. It didn't look good for the former Green Bay Packers first-round draft pick.

Edwards lamented turning down the three-year contract St. Louis had on the table last spring before they withdrew the offer.

Mentally, he was teetering.

Then, he got a call. Beset by injuries in the secondary, the Falcons were as desperate for a safety/nickel back as Edwards was desperate to play.

This probably would be his last shot.

"You don't get three or four opportunities," Edwards, 28, said. "I had to jump on this opportunity."

When the Falcons signed him Nov. 2, Edwards' thumb had not fully healed. Still, he thought he'd be playing within a few weeks, at least on special teams and at nickel back, where Allen Rossum had stepped in for Chris Cash, who suffered a season-ending arm fracture while replacing Kevin Mathis, who had a season-ending knee injury.

Edwards didn't get his chance in the secondary until Monday night's 36-17 victory over New Orleans.

"That was unusual because I'd never been in a situation like that," Edwards said about spending nearly a month working mainly on the practice squad. "I just stayed ready. I knew an opportunity was coming."

When it did, Edwards played like he knew he might not ever get another chance to make an impression. Filling in for Rossum, who sprained a knee ligament in a loss to Carolina Dec. 4, Edwards had three tackles and provided a physical element the coaching staff had long wanted from the safety/nickel back spot.

It was the first time he'd played defense since the preseason, when he was with Patriots.

There was some rust and he made mistakes, coach Jim Mora said. He also made an impression. Edwards is set to start again at nickel back Sunday at Chicago and he has been working more in practice at strong safety as Keion Carpenter's backup.

"I like having him in there," Mora said. "He'll help us. He's physical, he's big, and he knows the game. There's a sense of urgency with the way he's playing because he's been out of the league. He's been hurt. He thought it was over. You get that second chance, you take full advantage of it and I think that's what he's doing. I like the kid."

Edwards said by the end of the season, he hopes to have played well enough to remain with Atlanta, where he has lived in the offseason. Playing for defensive coordinator Ed Donatell and secondary coach Emmitt Thomas, who coached him with Green Bay, would be ideal, he said, because both know how to maximize his strengths in the system.

Edwards said he would like to work into the starting lineup at some point, and if he remains with Atlanta next season, that could be a possibility since that position has already been targeted for an upgrade.

"Right now he's at a stage where he wants to put his best foot forward, he's local, and it's kind of a nice match," Donatell said. "I always had a vision painted of this guy being a highly productive safety. I still see that and we're looking for him to reach that."


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 12:04 am 
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Great read and hopefully he can provide some much needed help...


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:18 am 
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Edwards is the best run stopper we have in the secondary. I can't remember which offseason it was if it was this past one of the one prior to 2004, but I think some on the board advocated going after Edwards.

I actually recall wanting the team to draft Edwards back in '99, when we took Kerney. I knew Reeves wanted a DE, but I wanted us to take a DB, whether it was Edwards, Fernando Bryant, or Antoine Winfield, I really didn't care.

I think after Heard's performacne this past week, we'll see Edwards starting at least once before season's end.

Edwards is a decent stopgap, but I'm not expecting him to solve any of our problems. But he'd be a good player to keep in case Scott doesn't bounce back next year and whomever else we pick up in the off-season isn't quite ready.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 6:46 am 
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Well he playes Safety with Sharper in green Bay, so he has basically played a Strong Safety position before where he had to be the main run support. We could see him, Cash, and Heard battling it out next year for a starting Safety spot; since any of them would rather do that than play Nickel I'm sure.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:36 pm 
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the greatest factor for this guy is that he is desperate to get back in the league and prove himself, especially at age 28, nows the time. desperation can do many things, good and bad but on the field we know he'll be putting everything into it and most importantly be physical. hopefully with the remaining three games, he will be lay the wood, carp and scott never could.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:07 pm 
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On the ESPN boards I was an Edwards advocate. At the time he was young and got a raw deal IMO.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 4:27 pm 
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all I got to say is let's see it!!!

I don't care who steps up, I just want someone, anyone to.......

If it's Edwards, Heard I don't care but lets get some nasty hard hitting folks back there to smack some people around.....


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:45 pm 
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Steve-O wrote:
all I got to say is let's see it!!!

I don't care who steps up, I just want someone, anyone to.......

If it's Edwards, Heard I don't care but lets get some nasty hard hitting folks back there to smack some people around.....


I'm with you!!
I hope Edwards plays well and makes an impression.


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