Thursday, January 10, 2013
Where They Aren't Now: Ray Edwards
By Pat Yasinskas
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution has been running a fun series on past Atlanta Falcons' playoff heroes this week.
Here’s the installment on kicker Morten Andersen. The series also includes a little on what each former player is doing now, sort of a “where are they now’’ thing.
That got me thinking and I decided to spin off in a slightly different direction. I decided to do a “Where They Aren’t Now’’ series on former Falcons.
Let’s kick it off (and, this likely will be the only installment) with Ray Edwards.
We know where he won’t be on Sunday. He won’t be on the field at the Georgia Dome playing for either the Falcons or the Seahawks, even though the defensive end had the chance to play for both teams.
The Seahawks worked out Edwards a couple weeks ago. Yet, after Chris Clemons went down with an injury, Seattle signed future Hall of Famer Patrick Chukwurah, which really says a lot about how little people think of Edwards. Chukwurah, 33, has nine career sacks and last appeared in an NFL game in 2007.
If Edwards has any pride, he should have been embarrassed by that transaction. Edwards is 28 and has 33 career sacks.
The fact that Chukwurah was signed over Edwards is just the latest twist to a sad story.
Once upon a time, Edwards could have had the world by the tail. Coming out of the lockout in 2011, the Falcons signed Edwards to a big free-agent contract and the thinking was he’d be the perfect complement to John Abraham.
It didn’t quite work out that way. Edwards produced just 3.5 sacks in 2011. The company line after the season was that Edwards wasn’t completely healthy and the Falcons spent much of training camp talking about how they expected him to have a breakthrough season in 2012.
That didn’t happen either. Edwards did nothing on the field, which didn’t score many points with coach Mike Smith. There were also several instances where Edwards didn’t treat Falcons’ staff well, which also didn’t score him many points with Smith. Edwards was talked to about that, but it kept happening.
Edwards quickly lost his starting job to Kroy Biermann. In a backup role, he continued to not produce. Even worse, he pouted and Smith sensed Edwards was becoming a problem in the locker room.
So Smith solved that problem by removing Edwards from the team. After nine games, Edwards was released.
That cost Edwards $15.5 million in future base salary and $2.5 million in escalators.
It also cost him a chance to be playing in a playoff game.