November 5, 2007
By David Driver
For The Gazette
Used with permission
BALTIMORE - Many football players, and their teams, claim they do not pay much attention to statistics. The only numbers that matter, they say, is the final score.
But that is not the case for Columbus High School graduate Dwan Edwards, a defensive tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.
"When we go into a season, we want to be No. 1 in every defensive category there is," said the 6-foot-3, 315-pound Edwards. "That is not a stretch. The bar is set so high for our defense. We don't expect to give up big plays."
The Ravens, with one of the top defensive units in the NFL, normally reach their goals. And this season Edwards, a second-round pick by the Ravens out of Oregon State in 2004, has seen time as a starter due to injuries on the defensive line. "It has been a great experience for me to play. You always want to be a starter," said the 26-year-old Edwards, an all-state linebacker and fullback at Columbus and class president who had a 3.7 grade-point average. "You can't prepare any differently. You still have to play the game, whether it's the eighth play of the game or the first."
Edwards, who has 15 tackles in the first seven games this season, said injuries are part of the NFL.
"Depth, that is the name of the game in football," he said. "People are going to get hurt. How well they adapt to the injuries is part of the game. At any position, there are going to be injuries. You can not pinpoint the reason for it."
Edwards, in his fourth season in Baltimore, is not the only player with ties to Montana contributing to the Ravens this season. Reserve running back Justin Green, 25, was a fifth-round pick out of the University of Montana and is in his third season with the Ravens.
Green had four catches for 17 yards for the Ravens in 2006. This season he has one catch for six yards and has made eight special teams tackles.
At Montana, Green played in 27 games and rushed 412 times for 1,784 yards.
Edwards and Green talk often about Montana. Green played in college with some of the teammates Edwards had in high school. Green, who is from San Diego, has fond memories of the fresh air in Montana. "The best thing was seeing the stars at night," he said.
Edwards said Baltimore is starting to feel like home after four seasons in the league. He and his wife have a daughter and son, both under the age of 8.
I hope to stay here a long time. I love my teammates," he said.
The Ravens (4-3) had a bye last week and return to the field tonight for a Monday Night Football showdown with AFC North rival Pittsburgh (6:30 p.m., ESPN).
Off the field, Green and Edwards are both involved in charitable work in the Baltimore area.
Edwards took part in American Red Cross blood drive in 2005 and through Big Ed's Band Foundation, helps provide musical instruments to schools and children in need.
"I am fortunate, and able to give back," Edwards said, "when I have time to do it. We have a great media and public relations group (with the Ravens). They are always asking us (to appear). If I have time, I will do it.
"I come from a family in Montana," he added. "A lot of things had to go my way. I got some breaks. It is a testimony to hard work."
Green has spoken to middle school students in Baltimore, promoted a drug-free lifestyle and provided food to families in nearby Columbia, Md., and been involved in many other volunteer pursuits.
What is the motivation?
"The motivation is most (pro) football players didn't grow up with a silver spoon in their mouth," said Green, who assists the disabled to live as much on their own as possible. "At one point you may have been in that (challenging) position. There is always something that people can relate to," such as serving Thanksgiving meals to the homeless.