As career implosions go, it doesn’t happen much more quickly than it did for cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha, who went in roughly 20 months from being the prize of the post-lockout free-agency class to a one-year, $1.35 million base deal.
But at least Asomugha is still in the league.
Defensive end Ray Edwards, who jumped from the Vikings to the Falcons after the lockout, was cut during his second season in Atlanta, and he never has been heard from again.
Except, of course, when knocking guys out with punches so ferocious they don’t even have to, you know, connect.
Edwards, who now embraces boxing in large part because the NFL no longer embraces him, is the subject of a slow-news-day profile in USA Today. He claims he didn’t know about Nick Capes’ plan to take a no-punch dive. Edwards also claims that his football career didn’t deserve the knockout blow it received from the Falcons.
“When they say you’re a bad apple, they don’t want you on your team; Terrell Owens is evidence,” Edwards said. “Before [Owens] left the game, he was a 1,000-yard receiver, but he didn’t get a job because of people saying he’s a bad person. It’s hard to get second chances in the NFL because it’s a product line coming out of college.
“I think [Falcons head coach] Mike Smith [gave me the problem player label] because me and him weren’t on the best of terms. He felt someone was better than me, but I knew he wasn’t. Players didn’t agree with him. He just didn’t like me.”
Other football coaches are smart enough to factor in those potential personal conflicts. Disregarding whatever the Falcons were saying, the Seahawks (who gave Owens a chance last year) brought Edwards in for a tire-kicking after he was cut. But when defensive end Chris Clemons tore an ACL in the wild-card round, Pete Carroll and John Schneider dusted off concussion-lawsuit plaintiff Patrick Chukwurah for a divisional-round game at Atlanta — even though Edwards surely would have had extra motivation (and maybe some inside information) to help Seattle win in the Georgia Dome.
“If you don’t do what they tell to do in the NFL, exactly how they tell you to do it, you have a bad attitude,” Edwards said. “I have a bad attitude because I want to be on the field? That sounds like a winning attitude to me.”
No, it sounds like a guy who knows better than his coach, and who doesn’t know when to accept the coach’s decision and move on.