(ALLEN PARK) -- The words are stunning when you first here them.
"My goal this year is to have fourteen sacks," said second-year defensive end Kalimba Edwards.
"If I get the playing time I think I should be able to get fourteen sacks, but of course if you're not on the field there's nothing you can do about it."
No Lion has recorded that many sacks since Al (Bubba) Baker recorded an incredible 23 sacks in 1978. Baker added 16 more in 1979 and 18 in 1980. Even Robert Porcher only hit that number once in his stellar career in 1999 when he went to the Pro Bowl, but that isn't deterring Edwards from making that number his goal.
Last year, Edwards led the franchise with 6.5 sacks in a part-time role, where he started just four of sixteen contests. But Edwards was extremely effective in a situational pass-rushing role. Some scouts compare him to Green Bay Packers pass rushing specialist Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila, who compiled 13.5 and 12 sacks in back-to-back years. Edwards, though, doesn't want to be a situational player.
"I view myself as an every down player. I don't know how exactly the coaches view me, but I view myself as an every down player. But, whatever the coaches feel like I can do, I'll try my best to contribute that to the team's overall effort to win."
One would think a player who is that dangerous against opposing quarterbacks would hardly ever come off the field. What keeps Edwards from claiming a starting position?
"It's being able to consistently take on a guy head-on because of my weight," said Edwards. "I'm gaining weight now, so it 's going to get a lot easier. You can also play the run game with quickness -- it doesn't always take brute strength. I can do it that way, but sometimes you just need absolute brute strength and I have to work on that, plus my weight."
Edwards is currently not practicing with the team after recovering from hernia surgery, but a return is forthcoming. "I'm about three weeks away, " he said. "I should be back by the middle of preseason.
The second-year end knows he is fortunate to have a mentor with so many similarities in Robert Porcher. Both went to college in South Carolina, Porcher at South Carolina State, and Edwards at USC. In Porcher's first year playing both at tackle and end, he collected just one sack before moving to the end. In '93, Porcher upped his total to 8.5 sacks.
"Kalimba reminds me of myself when I came in," said Porcher. "I was constantly around Jerry Ball, always just asking him questions about things he did on the field and the way he conducted himself off the field. [The rookies] do the same things. When I see little things that I think can help, I'll just tell them."
Head coach Steve Mariucci is also looking forward to Edwards' second professional season.
"It's going to be nice to get Kalimba Edwards back," said Mariucci, who has stated that Edwards, along with Shaun Rogers, Cory Redding and Robert Porcher will make this the "best defensive line" he's ever had.
Fourteen sacks would make it that much better.