Donnie Edwards went to the Pro Bowl in 2002 as a member of the Chargers and don't think for a minute that he is going home again to Kansas City. This is his home. Edwards led the Chargers with 129 tackles and five interceptions and ranked second on team with 11 passes defensed. He added a fumble recovery that he returned for a touchdown and one of his interceptions was returned for a touchdown.
Donnie claims he would have had one more touchdown, "I just wish some people would have blocked and maybe I would have had another touchdown -- instead of watching me."
Last week he was honored with the David Griggs Memorial Award as team's Defensive Player of Year.
"Coming back home to San Diego, where I started from Kansas City, I have always been a Chargers fan, even when I was in KC," Edwards said. "I always used to make jokes, underneath my shoulder pads when I was with the Kansas City Chiefs, I always used to wear a Chargers Power T-shirt and I always told them, ‘Chargers for Life'."
Would he really where a Chargers shirt underneath his pads and trademark long sleeve shirt?
"I didn't actually wear one. Metaphorically speaking. I always wear sleeves for a number of different reasons. Allergies to the grass, it's hard to breathe. You get all clogged up. It's tough, how are you supposed to run around. Allergy medication helps everything open up."
Despite congestion problems, Edwards did not test himself for allergies until 1997. Medication and a better diet have helped him through the tough times.
Concerns about the health of the defense are something that must be looked at on an ongoing basis. With the start of the season upon us, it is vital to their success.
"The defense is pretty good health-wise. I think everyone is pretty good health-wise, except for Tay Cody."
Tay Cody is battling a hamstring injury and remains questionable for this weekend's game against Kansas City. Cody was the only player not to practice on Wednesday.
Edwards remains cautiously optimistic about the team. Citing the past the goal of a playoff berth is more than reachable.
"Honestly I don't know. I always try to come up with some kind of number in my head of what we are going to do. We still have to figure out our team since we had another shuffle today of our defensive end. Dingle instead of Ray Lee and Sammy Davis is going to start at corner. We have a bunch of youths, but I am optimistic. We did it back in '97 when I was with the Chiefs."
13-3 was the Chiefs record that year and four players started on defense that combined for just one NFL start. Edwards had that one start.
"I am optimistic we can do it again."
Simplicity may be the key to the defense this year. With new starters all through the secondary, the defense must focus on fundamentals. Marty will preach it all season and we will likely hear it in his post game press conferences.
"I say it's easy; all you have to do is tackle the guy with the ball. They can only do two things, run the ball and throw the ball. We are going to make mistakes, but I guarantee you: we are going to be great tacklers and we are going to run to the ball. We have got some athleticism, and we are going to play."
The first time they get to play will be this Sunday. As the week wraps up, the team will put all the training camp lessons and preseason games into a regular season game.
"We truly focus on the game ahead of us. We can't look ahead, not in this league."
This Sunday is just one step in the path to a Championship.
Denis Savage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donnie Edwards: "Chargers for Life"
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