Former Washington Redskins safety Brad Edwards’ rise to authoritative figure, he will take the position of Athletic Director at George Mason University Jul. 1, began long before his retirement from the NFL in 1996.
From 1990-1993, Edwards was a member of the Redskins were he was instrumental in helping the burgundy and gold capture Super Bowl XXVI against the Buffalo Bills, the franchise’s third Super Bowl victory in 10 years.
While in Washington, Edwards learned from one of the greatest coaches in sport history in Joe Gibbs and also had a pretty interesting first moment on the field that helped mold his leadership style.
He talked about both Gibbs and his first Redskins memory with CSN Washington on Monday.
Naturally as a safety, Edwards was one of the smaller players on the defensive unit. Despite his diminutive size in comparison to some of his teammates, he was tasked with play calling.
While he thought he had command at first, a certain defensive end let him know otherwise.
“The first time I walked into the defensive huddle, and the safety’s job here was to run the huddle and call all the signals, I walked into the huddle, you have to remember that I’m one of the smallest guys on the team, and so I make this call and immediately my left shoulder pads gets lifted up and I’m up on one football and it’s a guy by the name of Charles Mann who has me,” Edwards said. “He grabs me and he says ‘Look here kid—if you’re going to call signals here you better get some bass in your voice—and he shrugs me off like that and I went ‘okay.’”
“This is like when you got back and watch the prison movie you watch when you’re a kid. You can either buck up now or (not). We had a nice conversation after that and we’re now lifelong friends.”
Changes required were fully noted.
“After that I was jerking guys into the huddle and telling them to stop looking at the replay screen to see whose sack it was,” Edwards said. “They’re all concerned about who got the sack. They’d want to see themselves on T.V. You have no idea how many times I had to get a guy to quit looking at the screen.”
And while he had other coaches instructing him on football, no one figure was more influential on Edwards both on and off the field than Gibbs.
“I think the years that I was here, certainly under Joe Gibbs, were the most formative of my entire life and I try to manage the way coach Gibbs managed, the way he treated people, the way he always ended things well. He wasn’t a screamer, he wasn’t a yeller, but he had an insane work ethic.
“He had high expectations and standards and he held you accountable, but he always made you feel like he wanted you. He wanted to see you succeed.”
ABOUT THE REDSKINS: Headquartered at Redskins Park in Ashburn, Virginia, and owned by Daniel Snyder, the historic Washington Redskins Football Club has won five World Championship titles including the 1937 and 1942 National Football League Championship games, as well as Super Bowls XVII, XXII and XXVI. Founded in 1932 as the Boston Braves in Massachusetts, the team changed its name to the Redskins in 1933 and relocated to Washington, D.C., in 1937. Since then, the team has become one of the most recognizable professional sports franchises in history, featuring multiple Hall of Fame coaches, 19 members of the Pro Football Hall of Fame (with seven others who also were Redskins) and becoming the first team in the NFL with an official marching band and fight song, "Hail to the Redskins." The Redskins have been owned by Dan Snydersince 1999, and beginning in 1997, began playing their home games at FedExField in Landover, Md.