Move #6 – Correct the Mistake

It's never too late to correct a mistake in the NFL. The Chiefs made one in the spring of 2002 when they let Donnie Edwards walk to the San Diego Chargers. With his impending free agency looming, they can now correct that situation by bringing him back in March.

When Edwards was released in 2002, the dollars weren't the issue. The desire was there from both the player and the management. Unfortunately, former defensive coordinator Greg Robinson convinced Dick Vermeil that Edwards wasn't a good fit for the Chiefs defense.

Let me get this straight. In five seasons with the Chargers, Edwards amassed 732 tackles, 17 interceptions, seven sacks and eight forced fumbles. Does that sound like a player who is over the hill?

Clearly he was a good fit for the Chiefs then and still is now.

Edwards never wanted to leave Kansas City. The last time I saw him he told me that ‘Kansas City is my home away from home.' Though he grew up in San Diego his heart remains to this day with the Chiefs.

The rabid fan base of this city is something that he appreciates to this day. If you ask him about playing at Arrowhead, he'll tell you that it still gives him chills, regardless of the uniform he wore.

Edwards should have never left the building. He helped build the place. The fourth round pick from UCLA was an instant hit back 1996. He just makes plays, game in and game out. He's one of those relentless players who will do whatever it takes to find the man with the ball and tackle him, sack him or knock him down. He's a torpedo who always knows where the ball is on every snap.

The Chiefs face a plethora of issues at the linebacker position in the coming weeks. They must decide if middle linebacker Kawika Mitchell is worth $25 million and if Kendrell Bell is worth keeping. I could see a scenario where the Chiefs sign or let both of them go.

They know that Derrick Johnson is going to start and they know that William Kershaw has talent. Boomer Grigsby has really never been given a chance, nor has Rich Scanlon. Kris Griffin is a nice player but he's not a starter. All of them outside of Johnson are likely career backups.

Mitchell has his critics. He's a solid player he might not be worth the kind of coin he'll be seeking this offseason. If the Chiefs are serious about making a run at Edwards, Mitchell might be expendable.

Mitchell is a leader in training while Edwards has already reached that level. That could ultimately be the deciding factor, but another one is age. Edwards will be 34 this spring. Despite that, his play hasn't diminished. In fact, he's playing the best football of his career.

One thing in the Chiefs favor is the fact that San Diego Chargers GM A.J. Smith has tried to trade Edwards the last two seasons. He came close to dealing him to New Orleans last summer, a move that Edwards wanted, but Smith insisted on a deal sweetener from the Saints and talks broke off.

To his credit, Edwards never said a word publicly about his situation and he represented the Chargers with class and dignity. He played with the same style that has been the hallmark of his career despite the so-so mentality of the Chargers fans base. He's a throwback and the Chiefs need more of them on defense.

They have a couple in Ty Law and Jared Allen. I think Jarrad Page could be another one eventually but defensively they still need more playmakers.

Even if the Chiefs signed Mitchell they could play Edwards on the outside and cut Bell without losing a wink of sleep. This team still needs a young cornerback and two solid defensive tackles but adding Edwards would be a solid start.

Carl Peterson told me last September in a candid one-on-one interview that the decision to let Edwards walk was very similar to the mistake the Chiefs made when they chose Elvis Grbac over Rich Gannon. Maybe Edwards would have made a big tackle or two in the playoff game against the Colts in 2003.

Carl needs to make it happen this time and let Edwards finish out his career in the uniform that more represents who is than the one he rented out the last five years.

Tomorrow: A Big Sapp Please

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