October 18, 2017

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Edwards went from 'unknown' to Bombers great

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Files</p><p>Retired Blue Bombers receiver Terrence Edwards will be the only player in the team's 2017 Hall of Fame class.</p>

Ruth Bonneville / Winnipeg Free Press Files

Retired Blue Bombers receiver Terrence Edwards will be the only player in the team's 2017 Hall of Fame class.

Terrence Edwards was already part a prestigious group of Winnipeg Blue Bombers receivers, ranking fourth all time in receiving yards for the Blue and Gold, behind only Milt Stegall, James Murphy and Joe Poplawski.

On Wednesday, Edwards was added to another exclusive group, this time as the lone player to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame, joining a class of 2017 that includes David Asper and Gene Dunn in the builders category.

“It’s exciting for me and my family,” said Edwards, who was accompanied in Winnipeg for the ceremony at RBC Convention Centre by his parents Robert Jr. and Jeannette, wife Candace and three children, Terrence II, Troy and Cadence, along with his brother Robert.

“Any athlete, they want the recognition for what they’ve done on the field, and it’s a great time for me. I never thought this day would really happen.”

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Terrence Edwards was already part a prestigious group of Winnipeg Blue Bombers receivers, ranking fourth all time in receiving yards for the Blue and Gold, behind only Milt Stegall, James Murphy and Joe Poplawski.

On Wednesday, Edwards was added to another exclusive group, this time as the lone player to be inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame, joining a class of 2017 that includes David Asper and Gene Dunn in the builders category.

"It’s exciting for me and my family," said Edwards, who was accompanied in Winnipeg for the ceremony at RBC Convention Centre by his parents Robert Jr. and Jeannette, wife Candace and three children, Terrence II, Troy and Cadence, along with his brother Robert.

"Any athlete, they want the recognition for what they’ve done on the field, and it’s a great time for me. I never thought this day would really happen."

Edwards, 38, played seven seasons for the Bombers, reeling in 469 receptions for 7,200 yards and 46 touchdowns. He began his professional career with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, but injuries prevented him from sticking with the club. In what was a last-ditch effort to resurrect his career, Edwards, a native of Tennille, Ga., headed north to the CFL, where he made a brief stop in Toronto before spending two years with the Montreal Alouettes. It wasn’t until 2007 that he joined the Bombers, where he would finally make a name for himself.

"I started off as an unknown. I was coming over from Montreal and a lot of people didn’t know who I was and what I could do," Edwards said.

For many, he was simply the younger brother of Robert Edwards, a bruising running back who was drafted by the New England Patriots in the first round of the 1998 NFL Draft. Robert Edwards played a few years with the Patriots and then the Miami Dolphins before bursting onto the CFL scene with Montreal. It was while with the Alouettes that he convinced his younger brother to give the CFL a shot.

"My first memory was Coach (Bob) Dyce, who was the receivers coach at the time, he brought me in and saw that I could make plays, and he told me early that I was going to be a big part of this team," Edwards said.

In seven seasons in Winnipeg, Edwards was named a CFL all-star twice and a divisional all-star three times.

"A lot of memories — the good and the bad," Edwards said. "I was here from 2007 to 2013, played in two Grey Cups (2007 and 2011), and then there were some years we didn’t make the playoffs at all. There was a lot of up and downs, but like I’ve told a lot of people before, I wouldn’t change my experience here for anything."

Edwards said he is enjoying retirement. He’s currently the head coach of Pace Academy, a high school back home, and runs his own training facility, mentoring receivers at all levels of the game. He also keeps an eye on his former team and believes they have what it takes to finally break that dreaded Grey Cup curse.

"They’re winning, 10-4," he said. "That’s a successful season and I know these guys have many more goals they want to obtain, so the sky is the limit for them. The recipe is here for these guys to succeed."

BLUE JUST WANT TO WIN: the Bombers have a chance to help eliminate the B.C. Lions from a playoff berth when the two meet Saturday at Investors Group Field. With a Winnipeg win — along with victories by the Edmonton Eskimos and Saskatchewan Roughriders over the weekend — the Lions will not make the post-season.

But the Bombers are focused on putting forth a better performance after a disappointing loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats at home last week.

"We want revenge from last week," Bombers cornerback Chris Randle said. "We played ourselves by not coming with the energy, with the focus, with the execution at the level we’re accustomed to doing, and that team came out and smacked us in the mouth."

NOT THE GOLDEN STANDARD: Bombers quarterback Matt Nichols, who was injured midway through the loss to Hamilton, talked about what fell short against the Ticats from a Bombers offence that heading into the game led the league in points and was second in yards gained.

The Bombers finished with 343 yards of offence compared to Hamilton’s 484 and were dominated in time of possession, 38:19 to 21:41.

"We moved the ball pretty well a couple times, took a couple penalties, turned the ball over a couple times, which we preach around here of not doing. That’s what loses games," said Nichols, who was stripped for a fumble and threw an interception late in the second quarter while the Bombers were in scoring position. "There are games where you’re only going to get four or five possessions in a half and you got to make them count, and I felt like we let a couple drives get away from us when we were trying to move the ball. I don’t think it was a terrible game, it just wasn’t up to our standards."

jeff.hamilton@freepress.mb.caTwitter: @jeffkhamilton

Read more by Jeff Hamilton.

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