By Ted Fleming
Dwan Edwards, Defensive End, #92
Hometown: Columbus, Montana
College: Oregon State
Experience: 9 years
Former Panthers’ GM Marty Hurney called him “the ultimate pro” and a player with tremendous work ethic. Head coach Ron Rivera thought he was an upgrade for the defense. So far, things have worked out pretty well in Charlotte.
Dwan Edwards was well on the way to his best season before he suffered an ankle injury in Sunday’s loss to the Bears. He was seen sporting a protective boot and his status for his team’s next game against the Redskins was said to be “uncertain,” according to head coach Ron Rivera.
Edwards was part of the sack-a-thon on Bears QB Jay Cutler in the first half with one of the six recorded, but was sorely missed down the stretch when Chicago barreled back from a 17-6 deficit in the fourth quarter to win 23-22.
“We did miss him down the stretch in the fourth quarter,” Rivera said. “We would have loved to have him inside with the push.” The injury is believed to be a high ankle sprain and that could lead to Edwards missing the game in Washington, however, he could be ready if treatment is successful.
Out of work just three days after being released by the Bills, Edwards was signed by the Panthers on September 2nd replacing former third round pick Terrell McClain who was cut. He had played in all seven games this year recording 26 tackles – his career best is 57 – with 4.5 sacks, a personal high.
Buffalo had also contributed to the Carolina roster a year ago, almost to the day, when they let go offensive lineman Geoff Hangartner. He would start all 16 games and was part of the Panthers setting a franchise mark for net yards.
Edwards is from the Big Sky Country town of Columbus, Montana, population 1,893 as of 2010. With one zip code, Edwards might just be the biggest celebrity the town has ever had. A three-letter star in high school – football, basketball and track and field – he would move in to Oregon State University where he was a two-time All-Pacific 10 Conference selection and finished his career with 12.5 sacks and a degree in business administration.
Taken by the Ravens in the second round (51st overall) of the 2004 NFL Draft, Edwards spent the next six years in Baltimore – he missed all of 2008 because of a back injury suffered in preseason – before he shuffled off to Buffalo for two seasons. Because the Bills shifted from a 3-4 defense to a 4-3, he became expendable saving the team a $4.3 million cap hit.
Upon signing, Ron Rivera wasted no time in declaring the 31-year old a starter and he has been there ever since playing next to namesake Ron Edwards. That’s 21-years of experience side-by-side, a luxury many teams don’t have. The duo will have a big influence in second-year tackle Byron Bell who is in his second year with the team after signing as a non-drafted free agent out of New Mexico last year.
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Ted Fleming is a freelance writer covering all things Carolina Panthers. His work can be found on Examiner.com.