Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards was in good spirits Friday as he discussed a variety of subjects related to football and other areas of interest. Edwards, for instance, is working on obtaining a double major in business and communications — he wants to go into broadcasting — and is taking the majority of his classes online. He and a business partner also are in the process of starting a T-shirt company called Ultimate Redemption and Edwards has even started to get into modeling.
But there was one subject that raised Edwards’ ire. That was the recent NFL rule change that will help protect quarterbacks even more, something that has drawn criticism from a few players. The rule will make it illegal for defensive players to hit a quarterback once they are knocked to the ground, if the play is still in progress. It could be called the “Tom Brady rule.” You’ll recall that on the opening Sunday of the 2008 season the Patriots quarterback absorbed this type of hit from Kansas City’s Bernard Pollard and suffered a season-ending knee injury.
“We all wake up in this game knowing what this game brings,” Edwards said. “Nobody told us, ‘Well you know, you have to play quarterback today. I don’t care what you say.’ You chose to play quarterback, you could have played wide receiver, you could have played defensive line, you could have played anything. Nobody tells you to play this game. If you chose to play this game you suffer the consequences.”
Edwards then talked about hits that defensive linemen have taken, some that are legal but extremely dangerous, and added, “If you’re going to protect somebody, protect everybody. Don’t just protect one person.”
Another factor in Edwards’ thinking is that if defensive players are told to hold up at a certain point, then shouldn’t offensive linemen have to do the same once the defender is down? “This means the offensive linemen is going to fall on top of you and maybe crack your rib because they want to keep playing,” Edwards said. “So are you going to tell them, ‘Once the defensive end falls on the ground you have to stop and try to block somebody else?’ That’s not going to happen. You can watch any film. Once you fall on the ground they try to fall on top of you.”