The easy and probably correct answer is "no way." Yet given his comments yesterday, we may have to consider the possibility that likely free agent target Ray Edwards may leave the game of football behind.
Edwards has made no secret of his passion for boxing this off-season, and he's also made no secret of the fact that he feels like the third wheel in a two-man defensive end rotation in Minnesota. After receiving a first round tender and watching former backup Brian Robison get a long-term deal, Edwards has indicated there's no way he's staying in the NFL unless he's not playing full-time in the Metrodome in 2011.
I'm not sure to what degree I buy that claim, but the ongoing complaints aren't exactly endearing him to Viking brass. I'd say there's no chance he's back in Minny, by hook or by crook.
Forgive the long quote, but I feel like it's better to have Edwards tell you why he's frustrated than have me explain it:
"I was happy for (Robison)," Edwards told 1500 ESPN. "He's a definitely great guy. I love the guy off the field, love him on the field. Great teammate. I wished him all the best, because we both were up for contracts. So, I told him that more than likely they're going to keep you because of the numbers situation.
"They're paying Jared (Allen, who signed a six-year, $73.26 million contract in April 2008). You've got Kevin (Williams), who's almost due for a contract and he's been there forever and he's a six-time Pro Bowler, I believe. I don't know if they're going to try to keep Pat (Williams) or not. It's just a numbers game.
"In this business, and I understand that, sometimes there's an odd man out, and I believe that I was always that odd man out."
Of course, a long-term contract with a contender—the Falcons spring to mind—could be just the elixir he needs to get past this. That assumes that the Falcons are really going to be chasing him, something I believe is basically fait accompli at this point. The biggest question is whether he'll be the missing piece of the pass rush rotation the Falcons have pushed for, and I hope the answer is yes.
What say you?