NFLFree Agency 2013: Ray Edwards Spooked Us, But It's Time To Let Go

Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE

As i write this on a cold, clear Saturday morning, I do not look fearfully at the sky. It would be crazy of me to expect that this day will turn out like the one four years ago, a crisp summer day that transformed into ominous clouds and a tornado in New Hampshire, one that cut a path of destruction through the middle of a state that might get one major vortex every few years.

We all know, intuitively, that we cannot draw too many lessons from one day. I fear that many of us are making the mistake of drawing too many lessons from one player.

I refer to Ray Edwards here. Edwards was an unmitigated disaster, someone seen as a preening would-be boxer who took a ton of flack for being disengaged in the locker room and a lousy pass rusher on the field. When the Falcons cut him after a season and a half of mediocrity, we were all more than a little bit scarred by it.

Unfortunately, those scars persist. So when we discuss Osi Umenyiora, I hear "I hope he's not another Ray Edwards." Elvis Dumervil could be another Ray Edwards. A bunch of rookies whose names we've discussed have been compared to him. And on and on and on, because we all fear having another Ray Edwards on the team so much that we've come to see him in every pass rusher available.

This is foolish. There are plenty of bad pass rushers, guys who have not met expectations, and plenty of them have wound up in Atlanta. But Edwards was an unusual mix of poor locker room guy with vastly underachieving defensive end on a fairly expensive contract. The Falcons will sign more players who don't quite make the expected impact in Atlanta, but we have got to stop assuming that every defensive end who walks through the door is another potential Edwards. Those guys don't come along every day.

All we can do now is hope the organization learned their lesson and trust that Umenyiora, who has a much longer track record than Edwards and is known as a fierce competitor, is not going to be the next RE.

Your thoughts on the Dreaded Edwards effect?

Related Links

Osi Umenyiora is now a Falcon

Falcons free agency tracker

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