The Edwards Connection (Part 3)

Part 3 of comments from my interview with <b>Stan and Braylon Edwards</b> that didn't make it into next month's magazine.

For those that missed Parts 1 and 2 of the Stan and Braylon Edwards interview, click below.

The Edwards Connection (Part 1).
The Edwards Connection (Part 2).

Where were you drafted out of Michigan?

"I was drafted in the 3rd round in 82 by Houston. I played 5 years there."

You played with Warren Moon?

"Absolutely. Warren Moon, Earl Campbell, and Mike Rozier. I am the only running back to ever block for 3 Heisman trophy winners. I think I am, anyway. Earl Campbell and Mike Rozier both won the Heisman. I blocked for Marcus Allen in an All Star game and he, of course, won it too."

You made an all-star game?

"Yep. I played in the East/West Shrine and the Olympia Gold Bowls. I was suppose to go to the Hula Bowl. Bo, Bear Bryant, Gary Moeller and Lloyd Carr were on the East coaching staff for the Shrine Bowl. Bo told the Hula Bowl that Butch and I didn't want to go to the there,…that we wanted to go to the Shrine with him instead. Butch, went to the Hula Bowl anyway, and I should have gone too!!(laughing) I've never been to Hawaii! The Shrine bowl was still a good experience. I blocked for Joe Morris in that game. Had we won, I probably would have been the MVP because I had two touchdowns and close to 100 yards rushing."

"I blocked for Marcus in the Gold Bowl. That game took place in San Diego."

So then you played for the Oilers and later the Lions, right? Did you play full back for all of those teams?

"I played 2 years in Detroit. What backfield spot I played depended on the offense. I played a little tailback for the Lions. But by that time I had lost so much of my speed that I wasn't the same tailback that I was in college. I played mostly full back for the Lions because I had blocked 2 Heisman trophy running backs in Houston."

After you left the pros, where did your career take you?

"Well, I took time off because I was beat. I had played organized football for 15 years, and I was tired. I retired in 87, took a couple of years off and then got into business. I was in insurance sales for a long time. I ran my own consulting communication company for small-medium sized businesses. Then I got back into insurance and financial services 3 years ago, which is what I am doing now. "

We touched on the following subject in previous conversations. Still, elaborate a little more on how you got into track coaching for our readers.

"Braylon was 9 years old and always said that he wanted to play football. Every year we got into the same talk about, 'don't play football because I played'. If you want to play, fine, but don't play because I played. And I knew then that Braylon was genuine. But I knew that he wasn't going to be built like me. I felt that if he was going to play, he was going to play wide receiver, or cornerback. He was going to have to be able to run. All my friends and me would always ask ourselves and each other, if we had it (pro-ball) to do all over again, what would we concentrate on more. The answer was speed. So, I made sure Braylon ran track before he played football."

"He ran track one year for one coach, and he did OK. He made it to the nationals. At that time, I knew nothing about track. I was a parent. We went to Auburn, Alabama for him to run in the Junior Olympics. My ego, at that time, was a lot bigger than it is now (laughing). I said, none of these other kids' dads played pro-ball, I'm sure. He was wearing everybody else in Michigan out. But, he got beat so bad down there that he was looking behind him to see where everyone else was, and they were waaaay ahead of him already! So I, being the guy that I am, made up every excuse in the world! ‘I'm gonna check that kid's ID,… he isn't 9 years old,… there is no way in the world that Braylon could get beat that bad.'…that sort of thing. It was a reality check for both of us."

"When he was 10 years old, he re-dedicated himself to it. He said, ok, I am going to have to work a lot harder. I still wasn't his coach, but I was watching him very closely. He worked really hard, and he was 7th in America, at 200 meters and 8th in America in the 100 meters. So he made the national finals because he was one of the top ten in America. But, his coach liked to move everybody to the 400 meters, because that is just what he liked to do. He wanted to move Braylon there. Braylon didn't want to run the 400 and I didn't want him to run it either. So, we left and went to another team. We were at the other team, and this particular guy was not the most ethical person on the face of the earth. So I said, ‘I have to find another team, or I am going to have to do this myself.'"

"I started another team with him and two other kids. I knew a little bit about training, but I didn't quite understand a lot about track. The two other kids were on the team with the un-ethical coach. Their parents said, ‘if you are leaving, we are taking our kids with you.' I said, ‘OK, I got 3 kids.' They were already in different age brackets and one was a girl. They would always win their races, but they had to sit in the stands when the relays came up. They all wanted to run the relay because that's the most exciting part of the meets. But we couldn't compete in them because of our numbers. Not having enough kids to run the relay coupled with the fact that it wasn't easy for just the 3 of them to come and run all the time in 85-90 degree weather with me yelling at them, made the whole thing not very fun. Because of that, I started letting other kids come in and be on the team, and it grew from there."

"We were running up and down this country. We were running in California, Texas, Virginia, North Carolina, Louisiana,… all over America running. That was our summer vacation. When I got remarried, my wife asked me how much longer I was going to do this. I said, ‘as soon as Braylon gets a scholarship, I'm done.' I thought then that he was scholarship material. But by the time that he got ready to leave high school, we had our own young kids that wanted to run, and I had other kids in the area coming in that wanted to run. Then I just decided to keep at it."

More still to come!

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