Ray Edwards: ‘Hopefully, I’m the missing piece’

Defensive end Ray Edwards, on  left, chatting with tight end Tony Gonzalez before the afternoon practice on Saturday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

Defensive end Ray Edwards, on left, chatting with tight end Tony Gonzalez before the afternoon practice on Saturday. (D. Orlando Ledbetter/Dledbetter@ajc.com)

FLOWERY BRANCH — Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards doesn’t plan to put on his boxing gloves anytime soon.

 Now that the lockout is over, and he has signed a five-year contract worth $30 million with the Falcons, Edwards can give up his second sport.

“You never know, but right now I’m focusing on the football season and helping this team get to where we want to go,” Edwards said after practice Saturday. He was a spectator because free agents can’t practice until Thursday, or sooner if the new collective bargaining agreement is ratified before then.

Edwards defeated T.J. Gibson by a unanimous decision in a four-round bout at a Minnesota casino in May.

The Falcons didn’t sign him for his boxing prowess. They want him to help balance the field and provide some sacks opposite Pro Bowler John Abraham.

“I think me and Abraham are going to be a great tandem,” Edwards said. “We’ll work on playing off each other and causing a lot of havoc.”

After going through a battery of medical tests, Edwards met with coach Mike Smith and attended his first defensive-line meeting with assistant coach Ray Hamilton.

“He’s going to help our pass rush, and he’s also a very good run defender,” Smith said. “He’s an all-around defensive end that is going to line up and play our left defensive end. We just can’t wait to get him out here and see what he can do.”

Smith doesn’t believe that Abraham, who had 13 sacks and 17 quarterback hurries last season, will be the lone benefactor from the signing of Edwards. He believes the tackles and the linebackers also could benefit.

“Any time you are adding a player that has the resume that Ray has and the ability that he shows, you are helping everybody,” Smith said.

Edwards amassed 20.5 sacks over the past two seasons, if you count his four in the playoffs.

He was quick to note that he has sacked Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers six times. Rodgers and the Packers eliminated the Falcons from the playoffs last season.

“Hopefully, I’m the missing piece,” Edwards said.

Safety William Moore has seen Edwards’ boxing video on YouTube.

“I wouldn’t go against him,” Moore said. “I’ll just stay in my weight class.”

Edwards was suspended for the last four games of the 2007 season for violating the league’s steroids policy.

–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog

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— Falcons defensive end Ray Edwards doesn’t plan to put on his boxing gloves anytime soon.

77 comments Add your comment

Dominic Hughes

July 30th, 2011
9:13 pm

Excited to get a player of this calibre at a sensible price. Well done TD.

chris

July 30th, 2011
9:14 pm

first. hey pichu

Falcon James

July 30th, 2011
9:14 pm

FEAR THE TALON

July 30th, 2011
9:15 pm

HERE’S THE PLAN ABE…..I’LL MEET YOU AT THE QUARTERBACK,SAID MR.EDWARDS!!!

E-Roll

July 30th, 2011
9:16 pm

“Hopefully, I’m the missing piece,” Edwards said.

This Falcon fan is hoping the same thing also; can’t wait for the start of the season!

Falcon James

July 30th, 2011
9:16 pm

This will inprove the falcon defence. Hope Abe can do better than he do the past seasons. He need the help because he was looking used up.

Davy Dmx

July 30th, 2011
9:19 pm

y2m

July 30th, 2011
9:20 pm

Can someone shed some light on a corner, safety, or backup running back?

Falcon James

July 30th, 2011
9:24 pm

Abe leg too tired to make it to the quarterback. I think he should just stand there and let Ray run the QB to him. That way Abe say he don’t need to work so hard. I likes what I see with the defence shapping up. We also need be looking at good character men like Aqib Talib to help Grimes.

Falcon James

July 30th, 2011
9:31 pm

y2m— I think if we get Aqib Talib, Ike Taylor, Champ Bailey, or Terrance Newman. Those the kind of players we are looking for to help on and off the field. We let the only good RB we had go with Norwood. Maybe we can get him back before it too late and someone sign him at 30 million.

robert

July 30th, 2011
9:32 pm

Good character men like Aquib Talib? LMAO. He is a beast cornerback though

MaxxFalcon

July 30th, 2011
9:33 pm

DOL- Any word on resigning Grimes or Blalock?

merbertmoover

July 30th, 2011
9:38 pm

man, i just hope someone bring back the dirty bird, you know what im sayin? i been missing that dance for real! i like to do it in my living room, after a plate full of chicken wings and ranch dressing, then down a beer and i be flappin my wings like its goin out of style! yeah, bring it back baby!

BiggdawgK

July 30th, 2011
9:40 pm

Why are all my comments removed?

robert

July 30th, 2011
9:49 pm

wings and beer sounds great right now

Falcon Fan

July 30th, 2011
9:51 pm

Looking forward to a GREAT year.

Saints Fans 'R US

July 30th, 2011
10:00 pm

I’m peeing on myself at the very thought of this guy coming at Brees

Billy

July 30th, 2011
10:06 pm

and Edwards got “only” $30M, while the Panthers gave Charles Johnson, I think it was $72M!

Sheree Whitfield

July 30th, 2011
10:26 pm

Is this where we can ax questions? I like to aks questions.

If so, is Ray married? I’m broke.

Conan The Grammarian

July 30th, 2011
10:41 pm

Orlando: It’s “beneficiary”, not “benefactor.”. You’re welcome.

Bzaust

July 30th, 2011
10:51 pm

Ray got $30M while Tampa gave Koenen $19.5M LMAO

Greg Moundine

July 30th, 2011
11:05 pm

Do not focus on GB. Focus on the So Call Dream Team, Philadelphia Eagles! Bet my word, the Eagles are not done in the draft! Let’s go get a CB and another WR. There is only one thing, the Eagles and Falcons have in common, We both are Birds! But we are the better One!

The first game against the Eagles will be a statement game for both teams! We must Rise Up!

Greg Moundine

July 30th, 2011
11:07 pm

draft ..meant Free Agency Market

FalconFan

July 30th, 2011
11:22 pm

QB: Matt Ryan
HB: Michael Turner
FB: Ovie Mughelli
WR: Roddy White
WR: Julio Jones
TE: Tony Gonzalez

LT: Sam Baker
LG: Justin Blalock
C: Todd McClure
RG: Garrett Reynolds
RT: Tyson Clabo

DE: John Abraham
DT: Jonathan Babineuax
DT: Peria Jerry
DE: Ray Edwards

OLB: Stephen Nicholas
MLB: Curtis Lofton
OLB: Sean Weatherspoon

CB: Dunta Robinson
FS: Thomas DeCoud
SS: William Moore
CB: Brent Grimes

Super bowl team!

haha

July 30th, 2011
11:25 pm

whatever happened to 1999 UGA???

ohhhhYEAH

July 31st, 2011
12:00 am

assuming Jerry is 100% and Babineaux can perform at the level he did last year, i would say thats probably as good a front four as there is in the league, at least in terms of stopping the run. hopefully Edwards will be what we expect him to be. still think it wouldnt be a bad idea to try for asante samuel though

Nique

July 31st, 2011
12:01 am

I think Mike Johnson is going to beat Reynolds out for the job.

BhamFalconFan

July 31st, 2011
12:03 am

Should we try to trade for Asante Samuel? He might bring some of the revenge factor if we meet the Eagles in the playoffs?

ohhhhYEAH

July 31st, 2011
12:04 am

@ Falcon James, are you on crack? number one, tampa let Talib go because he was IN TROUBLE WITH THE LAW, what is this good character of which you speak? he was also jawing at Roddy in the game in Tampa last year AFTER HE WAS OUT OF THE GAME WITH AN INJURY, and you want this man? as far as Norwood, yes he was good……when healthy, which he hasnt been in 2 seasons, i dont know what your logic is but no GM would sign someone who has been injury plagued for the past 3 years to a $30M deal. think before you post man. but i do at least agree that maybe trying to get Bailey(wont happen) or Newman would be good for us

ohhhhYEAH

July 31st, 2011
12:06 am

@Bham, it would be great to try and get Samuel, but who would we give up? they wont let him go cheap, and theyre already stacked enough as it is

realitycheck

July 31st, 2011
12:22 am

Falcon Fan……….Super Bowl team? They might not even make the playoffs!

ohhhhYEAH

July 31st, 2011
12:29 am

nah, we will make the playoffs, although it may be as the wild card. there arent that many teams out there better than us

Greg Moundine

July 31st, 2011
12:58 am

We are going to be the Dallas Mavericks of the NFL!

J.J.M.

July 31st, 2011
3:37 am

WordTurd

July 31st, 2011
6:55 am

I’m with Conan here Orlando, Edwards is the benefactor, and the other players are the beneficiaries.

Larry

July 31st, 2011
7:10 am

DOL,

That last sentence was an odd why to end an otherwise nice blog.

And, we STILL need another solid DB for those plays when both DE’s are blocked well! Unless you think that Chris Owens is the answer! :-o

supamusic25

July 31st, 2011
7:14 am

GREAT JOB FALCONS…IM PROUD TO BE PART OF AN ATLANTA TEAM THAT IS TRULY “GOING FOR A RING NOW” KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK

Paddy

July 31st, 2011
7:55 am

Falcon James…….you DID NOT JUST SAY, Norwood was our best back!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What team have you been watching the last few years??????? Norwood, really!!!!!!!!!! Guess he must have done real well in all those Tuesday. NFL games that only you saw! lol

Bill

July 31st, 2011
8:23 am

Not a word here about Jason Snelling. Last I heard they were still negotiating with him. Has that been resolved.

Falconfan gives us the first 22, which is pretty impressive. However, it is the second 22 that wins championships, since it is likely at least some of these first 22 will not be playing the last 1/3 of the season.

RobbE33

July 31st, 2011
8:56 am

I didn’t know about the ‘roid issue. Hope he’s not another Merriman has-been.

D man

July 31st, 2011
8:58 am

We still need help in the defensive backfield. Thomas is not through. Hopefully he is waiting on someone special to be released so we can pick him up for cheap.

Joey

July 31st, 2011
9:34 am

Coach Smith sounds like a kid on Christmas morning wanting to play with his toy! Great job by the Falcons getting this guy.

Just use your other new “toy” Jones and open up the offense, coach.

Go Falcons!

Joey

July 31st, 2011
9:38 am

Yeah, Norwood is so good, I bet teams are lining up to get him.

All of that speed is worthless when one is always dressed out in street clothes . . .

moleman

July 31st, 2011
9:41 am

Edwards didn’t impress in Minnesota; he is probably better than Anderson. The tackle situation and LB’s are weak. 8-8 season on the horizon.

Greg Moundine

July 31st, 2011
9:45 am

Burress to Jets!

WE DAT RISE UP!!!

July 31st, 2011
9:51 am

FALCON FAN: YOU DAMN RIGHT!!!
QB: Matt Ryan
HB: Michael Turner
FB: Ovie Mughelli
WR: Roddy White
WR: Julio Jones
TE: Tony Gonzalez

LT: Sam Baker
LG: Justin Blalock
C: Todd McClure
RG: Garrett Reynolds
RT: Tyson Clabo

DE: John Abraham
DT: Jonathan Babineuax
DT: Peria Jerry
DE: Ray Edwards

OLB: Stephen Nicholas
MLB: Curtis Lofton
OLB: Sean Weatherspoon

CB: Dunta Robinson
FS: Thomas DeCoud
SS: William Moore
CB: Brent Grimes

Super bowl team!

Ackshun

July 31st, 2011
10:39 am

Snelling and Blaylock will stay (if they were going somewhere they would be gone by now). Wildcard is Norwood, his phone isn’t exactly ringing off the hook and if he is looking for significant case his days in the NFL might be over. If the doesn’t get a deal, I think he may opt to sign a one-year agreement with the Falcons for around 1 mil. If he proves he can stay healthy he will be able to get a better deal next year. We still need a CB from somewhere.

ATLJBO

July 31st, 2011
10:40 am

Kane337

July 31st, 2011
10:45 am

Ray Edwards > (x100) Jamal Anderson

SeenThisB4

July 31st, 2011
10:53 am

@We Dat Rise Up!!!

LOL! That’s a funny list. But, why’d you put the biggest laugher at the top? LOL!