WHEN one door closes, another opens. A.J. Edds is living proof of that.
A day after being released by one of the NFL’s least distinguished teams, the former Columbus resident was signed by one of its most accomplished.
Cut by the Miami Dolphins on Monday, Edds was clamed off waivers Tuesday by the New England Patriots.
He signed his contract this morning and likely will make his NFL debut in some capacity — special teams or otherwise — in the Monday Night Football opener at, of all places, Miami.
Talk about landing on your feet.
By virtue of joining the most dominant franchise of the past decade, Edds’ chances of playing in Super Bowl XLVI appear considerably better than Peyton Manning’s.
Though time will tell on that one, this much is indisputable: Edds is too talented, too determined and put in too much work to have been denied a second chance in the NFL.
The proof is in how quickly opportunity knocked — and in who did the knocking.
In the hours after Edds was shockingly cut after having made the 53-man active roster, speculation in the Miami media was the Dolphins would sign him to the practice squad when he cleared waivers.
He, of course, didn’t.
Moreover, the team that claimed him wasn’t a non-contender grasping for straws. It was a highly structured organization that has been to four Super Bowls, and won three, since 2002.
Love him or loath him, it’s a fair assertion Patriots coach Bill Belichick knows a bit more about championshipbuilding than Miami’s Tony Sparano. The fact Belichick sees something in Edds that Sparano didn’t bodes exceedingly well for a player who has been on an emotional rollercoaster since the weekend.
Rewind to Saturday. When the Dolphins announced their final cuts, Edds — a 6-foot-4, 246-pound linebacker — was not on the list. He was on the team.
By the end of the day Monday, he was not.
A fourth-round draft pick from Iowa in 2010, Edds was cut — along with guard/center Joe Berger — to make room for tight end Dante Rosario and guard/center Ryan Cook. The move was surprising on a number of levels, not the least of which was Edds’ production during the preseason and the fact he survived the final cut.
Miami’s leading tackler during the preseason, Edds, who missed his entire rookie season with a knee injury, was No. 2 on the depth chart at one inside linebacker position behind Kevin Burnett.
So how did he lose his job? He simply lost a numbers game on a team that had more linebackers than it ever intended to carry.
“None of these (cuts) are easy,” Sparano told Miami media on Tuesday. “We had 10 linebackers on the roster at that particular time, and we weren’t going to carry 10 linebackers right at that time.
“I like some of the things that A.J. has done … obviously A.J. missed a chunk of time, and we really never had a chance to evaluate him a year ago.”
So that door closed, but another has opened. For how long, no one knows.
But there is no doubt Edds will make the most of an opportunity he couldn’t have imagined during the brief time he was a Dolphin.
One minute he’s on a noncontender. The next he’s on a Super Bowl frontrunner. Tom Brady is a teammate. The mad scientist, or evil genius, is his coach.
Above all, he has an opportunity. It’s what he’s worked for since college.
“I kind of realized if I did what the coaches asked of me while I was at Iowa, I’d really have a chance to at least get my foot in the door at this level, which is what’s happened,” Edds said recently. “It’s not a guarantee. If you don’t show up and perform every week, they can still release you at any time. But just to have an opportunity to be (in the NFL) and contribute and compete and all that kind of stuff is a blessing.
“Obviously, you worked for it. You don’t get lucky and fall into it. But it’s a blessing to be able to have a chance to do it.”
Rick Morwick is sports editor of the Daily Journal. Send comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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