Brotherly Love

ATHENS, Ga. - Terrence Edwards walked into Georgia's weekly press conference Tuesday wearing the No. 47 Bulldogs jersey of older brother Robert Edwards. If Terrence Edwards and his teammates can beat Florida Saturday night in Jacksonville, then Robert may return the favor and wear Terrence's jersey on the Georgia Dome sideline on Dec. 7 in Atlanta.

A win over Florida in Saturday's 7:45 p.m. game would clinch the Southeastern Conference's Eastern Division title for No. 5 Georgia (8-0 overall, 5-0 SEC). It also would send the Bulldogs to the SEC championship game on Dec. 7.  If Georgia makes it to the Georgia Dome, it might need to reserve a "big brother'' section on the sideline.

"I think all the big brothers would be there on the sideline,'' said Terrence Edwards, Georgia's leading receiver.

Robert Edwards, a former first-round pick by New England who is making a comeback this year with Miami,  is one of three big brothers of current Georgia players who enjoyed a rare 37-17 win over Florida in a 10-2 1997 season. Despite that win, the 1997 team still fell short of the SEC championship game.

Linebacker Boss Bailey's two older brothers, cornerbacks Champ Bailey and Ronald Bailey, each started all 12 games in 1997.  Also, offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb's older brother, Matt Stinchcomb, was a starter on the 1997 team.

After beating Florida, the 1997 Georgia team lost to Auburn 45-34. Still, the win over Florida was a career highlight for a team that bounced back from a 5-6 1996 season.

"That entire year was great for me,'' said Robert Edwards Tuesday in a telephone interview from Miami. "We did great things that year. We went 10-2 but we really wish we would have gone to the SEC championship game. But to beat Florida like that was special.''

In one of his top games, Robert Edwards scored four touchdowns in the win over Florida. Said Terrence Edwards: "It didn't bring Robert the SEC championship, but anytime you can beat the Florida Gators, if it brings you the SEC championship or not, it's an added incentive. "He did it his senior year and it's my senior year so hopefully I can do the same thing.''

The younger Bailey, Stinchcomb and Edwards say they hope to give their older brothers an opportunity to watch Georgia play for the program's first SEC championship in 20 years. But until Georgia can beat Florida for only the second time in 13 years, the brothers are waiting to make plans for the family reunion in Atlanta. "We talk about how the season is going for me so far,'' said Boss Bailey of his most recent conversations with Champ Bailey. "He usually just talks about the next game and that's as far as he takes it. They know about not looking ahead and I know about not looking ahead and we have to just take care of one game at a time.''

Said Jon Stinchcomb: "Matt and I kind of play devil's advocate. If I'm talking about what is ahead in the future, he kind of humbles me. If I say let's take just one game, he'll tell me about the big picture.''

Boss Bailey attended the 1997 Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville as a fan, but Terrence Edwards and Matt Stinchcomb had to watch on TV. Now the younger brothers know that with a win over Florida Saturday, they can give their older brothers something special to watch on Dec. 7.

"We know that our brothers will be there, probably on the sideline, cheering us on,'' said Edwards. "They didn't get the opportunity to play for (the SEC championship) but they're going to live their opportunity through us.''

Charles Odum is the beat writer for Dawg Post in Athens. He has over 20 years of experience covering Georgia football. He can be reached here: CEOdum@aol.com

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