When Ray Edwards was run out of Atlanta last week, we all assumed it had something to do with concerns both off-the-field and on it. Edwards was a supremely unproductive end over the first eight weeks of the season, after all.
We all heard the rumors about Edwards, of course. He kept to himself. He didn't seem to be putting in the extra work necessary to do great things in Atlanta, particularly after he lost his starting job to Kroy Biermann. And the results on the field were not, shall we say, stellar.
Of course, those were all unsourced rumors. It's easy to believe a guy who isn't playing well is lazy, but there are a thousand likelier reasons for that. With Edwards, though, the reputation as a guy who poisoned the locker room well seem to have been at least partially confirmed.
At NFL.com, Marc Sessler writes about what occurred in the locker room on Monday following the loss to the Saints. You'll recall that Edwards once again did not play much in that game:
As Falcons coach Mike Smith called on his players to gather in the locker room, Edwards sat alone along the wall and ignored the request. He was called upon three separate times and refused to join until his teammates ordered him over.
Falcons owner Arthur Blank and general manager Thomas Dimitroff were in the room, according to (Jay) Glazer, and the scene contributed to the decision to waive Edwards.
This on its own would not be a reason to cut any player. Even outright insubordination is usually handled by a fine, team suspension or other punishment behind closed doors. When you combine it with the grain of truth likely contained in some of those other rumors and the fact that a guy signed to provide a pass rush had zero sacks through nine games, it was enough for the Falcons to drive him to a nice farm upstate.
I don't claim to understand Edwards' psyche, but I think we can all safely agree that when you're already in the doghouse it's not a brilliant move to pull a stunt like that. With the owner and the GM in the room, it was an even worse move.
The pressing concern now is keeping John Abraham rested for the playoffs. This will probably be the last Edwards-related thing you hear from us, but please feel free to react in the comments.