FLOWERY BRANCH — Defensive end Ray Edwards, the Falcons’ prized free-agent signing this offseason, had minor knee surgery during the lockout and will not play in the exhibition season opener on Friday, head coach Mike Smith informed the media after Wednesday’s morning practice.
Edwards was in the locker room by the time the media found about his surgery. So it is not known at this time when the surgery occurred.
Smith did term the surgery as a “minor procedure.”
Edwards has not participated in any contact drills.
“So far, he’s hasn’t done any hitting at all,” defensive line coach Ray Hamilton said. “He’s working with us during the individual period. He’s looking pretty good. He’s look lean, tough, athletic. The next step is to get him into some action.”
Edwards was signed to a five-year contract worth $30 million that included $11 million in guarantees.
He described himself as “the missing piece” to the Falcons defense after signing with the club.
Also guard Mike Johnson, who has been out with a concussion, will not play against the Dolphins.
Running back Michael Turner returned to the team and is set to practice this afternoon. Smith said that Turner will play against Miami. He missed the last two days of practice to tend to a personal matter.
Edwards joins Turner (groin), wide receiver Eric Weems (knee) and defensive tackle Jonathan Babineaux (shoulder) on the list of players who had offseason surgery during the lockout that have been announced since the start of training camp.
–D. Orlando Ledbetter, The Atlanta Falcons beat blog