Wednesday, January 30, 2002

Underdog role not new for Patriots' Edwards

Norwood product says team similar to his hometown

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        NEW ORLEANS — First-year New England Patriots fullback Marc Edwards says his team and his hometown of Norwood have a lot in common.

        “I'm a fullback in this league, and fullbacks aren't respected a lot, just like the Patriots and Norwood, Ohio,” Edwards said Tuesday at the Louisiana Superdome. “Norwood has been overlooked; it's kind of making a comeback now. And after two years in Cleveland, I'm making a bit of a comeback myself.”

        After playing two years in San Francisco, coming home to Ohio to the Browns was a good move for Edwards at the time. But the Browns' offense didn't use the fullback much, and when new Cleveland coach Butch Davis hired former Colts quarterbacks coach Bruce Arians as his offensive coordinator, Edwards knew he had no place in Cleveland.

        “They didn't even have a fullback in Indianapolis,” Edwards said.

        So he asked for and was granted unconditional free agency. He signed March 19 as a free agent with the Patriots.

        Edwards met with New England coach Bill Belichick. After hearing his plan for Edwards, Edwards asked, “Where do I sign?”

        He has been a good fit in New England's ball-control offense. He had career highs in rushing attempts (55) and had 25 receptions and scored three touchdowns.

        Edwards has seven catches for 55 yards in two playoff victories.

        The Patriots are 14-point underdogs to the St.Louis Rams in Sunday's Super Bowl.

        But being an underdog is nothing new for Edwards. In 1997, he was the first player from Norwood High School drafted in the NFL. The 49ers took him in the second round with the 55th overall pick after Edwards had started for two years at Notre Dame.

        “I'm blue-collar, just like Norwood,” said Edwards. “It's the role we've had all year. We've relished it. Hopefully, we can pull one more upset.”


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