Donnie Edwards (Getty Images)
Donnie Edwards averaged more than 148 tackles a season over the last five years as a Chief. He also became the first Chief in history to surpass the 100-tackle mark in five straight years, while leading the team in tackles for four consecutive seasons.
Yet they let him go and have paid the price as Kansas City holds the 32nd ranked defense in the 32 team NFL.
“I thought I was going to be in Kansas City for my entire football career. I figured I was going to be there for the duration. I played well. I was active, on and off the field. I thought I was going to be there my whole career. But on the other hand, it was a great pleasure to be able to come home through free agency and play in front of my friends and my family in the hometown where I first started playing football,” said Edwards.
Home is Chula Vista here in California. He starred at Chula Vista High School and then went on to UCLA where he collected 254 tackles, 21.5 sacks, 38 tackles for a loss, 12 forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and six interceptions.
This year Donnie Edwards has already surpassed the 100 tackle mark that has followed his career. It has become clear that he is under appreciated everywhere he has gone. Proof of that is the fact he was not voted to the Pro Bowl team again this year. He was given a spot as “second alternate” which means he will not see Hawaii this year, again.
San Diego realizes how great a player he is. Through 14 games, Edwards leads the Bolts in almost every major category on defense, including tackles (108), interceptions (five, tying his personal high), interception return yards (95, also a personal best), passes defensed (10), and touchdowns with two, including one each on an interception and fumble return.
“It was always great because I got to come back home. I always had my best games against the Chargers,” said Edwards.
The Chargers hope the same will hold true when he returns to the place he called home for those six seasons.
More than one player came to his defense this week after he was not voted into the Pro Bowl.
"They (screwed) him," said quarterback Drew Brees. "That's all there is to it."
"Donnie Edwards belongs in the Pro Bowl. He did a hell of a job for us this year. He's a guy that came out here and held the defense together,” said Junior Seau.
"I certainly thought Donnie was deserving,'' said Chargers coach Marty Schottenheimer.
“It's not up for me to decide,” said Edwards. “All I can do is control what I do on the field, and I've been doing that. I can't worry about things you can't control. I got something bigger to worry about than that, and that is Kansas City. We're trying to get to the playoffs right now.”
That’s right, the playoffs. How fitting is it that this pivotal game is against his old team.