Blue Bomber Report Record: 3–1–0

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Playing through pain

Edwards keeps producing despite foot injury, team's dismal season

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Sometime in the hours before kickoff on Friday night, Terrence Edwards will take a shot of painkiller in his foot to dull the pain.

And then the Winnipeg Blue Bombers slotback -- at 33 the second-oldest player on the team to long-snapper Chris Cvetkovic -- will step onto the turf at Rogers Centre in Toronto and fight through pawing hands from enemy defenders to latch onto passes and scrap for every square inch of real estate he can get.

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It is his job, of course. It is what is expected of him in what is a cutthroat gladiator's game.

That said, no one would hold it against the soft-spoken Georgian -- a guy who watched Tuesday's practice while wearing a walking boot on his foot -- if he took the proverbial knee this week. After all, he is coming off a game in which he pulled in a career-high nine passes for 143 yards and, with 989 yards and three games to play, he should still be able to reach the 1K mark for the fifth time in his career.

Memo to anyone thinking a rest might be in order: don't even go there with the man.

"I was asked after the game if I would be mad if the coaching staff or GM wanted to sit me down and see other guys play," Edwards began. "I'd be pissed. I don't leave my family for six months out of every year to come here and NOT play. This is my job and if I'm healthy I want to be in every game.

"All this makes me want to come back even more."

And by 'all this' Edwards is referring to the nightmare the 2012 season has become. He said Tuesday he desperately wants to return in 2013 and hopes management keeps the talent core intact because "blowing it up will set us back a few years."

But there's also a much more deep-rooted conviction here than just a 30-something vet trying to squeeze every last second out of his career. Edwards understands, perhaps as much as anyone, how short-lived these moments in the game are. And he doesn't have to look too far to see what happens when they are snatched away. His brother Robert was a first-round pick of the New England Patriots, rushed for over 1,100 yards as a rookie and then blew his knee out in an NFL rookie flag football game in Hawaii. Robert made two comebacks, first in the NFL and then in the CFL. But in the span of six months he was cut twice, first by the Montreal Alouettes and then by the Argonauts.

"I go about my business every day because I saw how football was taken away from my brother early in his career," Edwards said. "I understand that none of this is guaranteed, that it's a game-by-game, day-by-day situation. You never know when it's going to be your last game. You never know when they're going to tell you that your services are no longer needed. And 99 per cent of players don't walk away on their own terms. They either get cut or injured or whatever.

"That's why I don't take this game for granted. I've seen how quickly it can be taken away. I give thanks to the Lord every day for blessing me to be able to play this game and play at a high level."

Friday's game will be Edwards 101st as a Bomber, the 112th in his CFL career. And so if he was to attempt to rally the troops with a pre-game speech, not long after his foot is taped up and fed a dose of pain relief, it might go something like this:

"I've told the young guys this for awhile now: this is like an audition. It's like the pre-season," Edwards said. "If the coaching staff or GM feels that they're not playing hard or with passion or they're just here because we're out of the playoffs, then I don't think those are the type of people they want on this team.

"I feel the same way," he added. "I want people on this team who are going to play hard and lights out no matter what the situation is because that's how I'm going to play."

ed.tait@freepress.mb.ca Twitter: @WFPEdTait

7,000 yards and still going strong

HT: 6-1

WT: 179

Birthdate: April 20, 1979

Born: Tennville, Ga.

College: Georgia

Years with Bombers : 6

Years in CFL: 8

Status: Import

Acquired: Signed by Bombers as a free agent on May 24, 2007.

Receiving Regular season

YearTeamGamesNo.YardsAvg.TDs

2005MTL26447.30

2006MTL93339311.91

2007WPG18801,28016.09

2008WPG15761,01013.37

2009WPG165281615.75

2010WPG18781,37217.612

2011WPG18661,12417.08

2012WPG156698915.03

Career total111457 7,02815.445

CFL All-Star: 2010, 2007

Divisional All-Star: 2011, 2010, 2007

'I understand that none of this is guaranteed, that it's a game-by-game, day-by-day situation. You never know when it's going to be your last game. You never know when they're going to tell you that your services are no longer needed... That's why I don't take this game for granted. I've seen how quickly it can be taken away. I give thanks to the Lord every day for blessing me to be able to play this game and play at a high level'

-- Terrence Edwards

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition October 17, 2012 C3

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