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On virtually all fronts, the first week of training camp has been smooth a ride for the Indianapolis Colts.
Players have embraced change. Coaches have applauded effort. Crowds have been large and enthusiastic. Temperatures have sizzled but not hampered.
Best of all, Andrew Luck has, according to Chuck Pagano, been better than advertised.
Yes, smooth sailing pretty much across the board. For just about everyone, that is, except A.J. Edds.
Training camp was anything but that for the former Greenwood star and former Columbus resident.
Sadly, it was a shipwreck.
For the second time in his three-year career, Edds — who has been waived by the Colts — saw his season end before it began. In 2010, it ended on the fourth day of the Miami Dolphins’ training camp. This time, it happened on Day 1 of Colts camp.
Same type of injury, different knee. Right ACL tear two years ago, left ACL this time.
Awful for anyone, but especially for a player like Edds, who has truly had to go the extra mile, and then some, to get to the NFL. From season-ending injuries to the harsh realities of business decisions, he’s overcome it all to live his dream.
Whether it’s over or not remains to be seen. But this much is certain: If history is an indication, a return to the NFL is by no means out of the question.
Flashback to his rookie season in Miami, when Edds — a fourth-round draft pick out of Iowa — tore his right ACL in camp. A devastating setback for any player, under any circumstances. But in his case, it could have ended his NFL bid before it began.
Because of the 2011 lockout, players had to do everything on their own. For healthy players, that meant staying in playing shape. For injured players, it meant rehabbing minus the direction and supervision of team doctors and trainers.
Edds not only did that, he somehow managed to report to Dolphins camp in good enough all-around shape to survive all preseason cuts and earn a spot on the 53-man active roster.
That in and of itself was a remarkable accomplishment for a mid-round draft pick who lacked the benefit of any sort of star preference. He essentially did everything on his own, proving to himself that he had the physical and mental tools to play in the NFL — which explains how he overcame the next unforeseen obstacle.
In a shocking move, the Dolphins waived the 6-foot-4, 244-pound linebacker the day after he made the team. But within 24 hours, he was acquired by the New England Patriots. To his amazement, he was placed on the active roster and made his regular-season debut in the Week 1 Monday night opener — at Miami.
All seemed fine, until New England released him a few weeks later, then signed him to the practice squad.
That low was immediately followed by another high, when the Colts signed him from the Patriots’ practice squad on Sept. 28. He not only finished the season with his hometown team, he was a regular contributor on special teams and held his own, essentially going the distance at linebacker when Pat Angerer (his college teammate) went down early in the first quarter in a game against the Patriots.
Although the Colts finished a 2-14 and underwent a dramatic overhaul, the outlook for Edds appeared sunny heading into this year’s camp.
Fully recovered from the 2010 injury which likely led to his releases in Miami and New England, Edds was poised for a larger role. Though there were no guarantees, not making the team seemed the least of his concerns. Vying for a role in the defensive rotation, and staying healthy, were his main objectives.
Unfortunately, a bad step during a non-contact drill during Sunday’s opening day of camp ruined everything.
So for the second time in his young career, Edds finds himself in a painfully familiar position: Starting over.
Though too early to predict a successful return to the NFL, he’s already proven he can. Rare talent and rarer determination are the ways and means.
We already know Edds has both.
Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal, a sister paper of The Republic. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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