By Jesse Wood
Oct. 30, 2013. The Cleveland Browns announced that it signed former Appalachian State phenom and NFL free agent Armanti Edwards on Tuesday evening. During his tenure at Carolina, Edwards played for current Brown’s head coach and former Panther’s offensive coordinator Rod Chudzinski.
Edwards spent three years with the Carolina Panthers as a wide receivers and special teams player, seeing little action, before being cut on Oct. 8 after plaguing hamstring injuries during the beginning of the 2013 season.
Edwards, a native of Greenwood, S.C., was the first player in NCAA Division 1 history to throw for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards. In his four years at Appalachian State, Edwards compiled a 42-7 record as a starter and led the team to two national championships.
In a release, the team noted, “Edwards was the catalyst for one of the biggest upsets in college football history as he led Appalachian State to a 34-32 victory over No. 5 Michigan in Ann Arbor on Sept. 1, 2007. He accounted for four touchdowns (three passing, one rushing), as the game marked the first time a Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team defeated a ranked Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) school.”
Drafted in the third round (89 overall), Edwards appeared in 39 regular-season games, including four in 2013, in the Panthers uniform, where he had five receptions for 121 yards, two carries fro 12 yards, 36 punt returns for a total of 253 yards and 15 kickoff returns for 295 yards.
One sports blog wrote: “The decision by Chudzinki is a curious one, given he never showed any willingness to play him during his two-year tenure as offensive coordinator. Under the Browns head coach Edwards totaled five catches for 121 yards.
In a perfect world Edwards might have a chance to play quarterback, but the world isn’t perfect and it appears he’s headed to Cleveland to fill the role as punt returner and depth wide receiver due to the injury of Travis Benjamin. It’s hard to project what he’ll do in an offense that has been inconsistent throughout the season, leading to a 3-5 start.
The only question that’s left to be answered is whether Boone can secure the TV rights for Cleveland Browns games.”