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Edwards already Ohio football legend

Posted Nov 2, 2013

Because of his play on the field against the University of Michigan, Cleveland Browns wide receiver Armanti Edwards is already an icon in the eyes of many Ohio football fans.

Wide receiver Armanti Edwards has yet to return a punt or catch a pass for the Cleveland Browns, but he is already a hero to many within the state of Ohio for something he did on a Saturday afternoon in August of 2007.

While the Ohio State Buckeyes were cruising to a victory over the Youngstown State University Penguins, Edwards, who signed with the Browns earlier this week, was leading Appalachian State University to a 34-32 upset victory over the then-fifth ranked University of Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium.

“I’ve gotten that a lot since I’ve been here,” Edwards said with a smile. “It doesn’t really bother me. It’s a win that’s gone down in history, forever.

“Michigan is a great win that the world knew, but people don’t realize I was a part of two National Championships there too. I only lost two conference games in my four years. People don’t realize that.”

Edwards said he is “most definitely” aware that upsets like the one he helped engineer over Michigan have served as an inspiration to every underdog team who has gone on the road to play a top-flight program.

“That’s how we took the field,” Edwards said. “When we went out there, we went to play football, no matter who was on the opposite team. When we got there, the first thing our coach did was take us to the stadium so we could look around and get all of the “oohs” and “ahs” out of the way. By the time it was time to play, it was just a regular game for us.

“We were just more surprised about how quiet the whole stadium was throughout the game. People kept asking us, ‘Did it get loud?’ It got loud maybe like two or three times when they came back and took the lead, but for the most part, it was pretty quiet.”

After a standout career at Appalachian State, Edwards was a third-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in the 2010 NFL Draft. In Carolina, the 5-foot-11, 190-pounder switched from quarterback to wide receiver and special-teams returner.

“It was very difficult,” Edwards said. “I played quarterback all my life, and to come and play with the best players in the world and change your position, it was tough.”

Browns coach Rob Chudzinski, the Panthers’ offensive coordinator from 2011-12, was with Edwards for two years, and knows what he can bring to the team.

“Armanti’s a bright guy,” Chudzinski said. “He was making the conversion from quarterback to playing receiver, which takes some time. He knows all of the positions, has good skills. He can run, he can catch and do those types of things. Sometimes, a new start, a fresh start can help guys.”

During his four-year run with the Panthers, Edwards returned 36 punts for 253 yards and 15 kickoffs an average of 19.7 yards, but never really “caught on” as a wide receiver, as he has five career receptions.

“I didn’t play much in Carolina, so, it’s not like I took a lot of big, big hits or got any bodily harm done,” Edwards said. “I still feel like I’m just a rookie in my body.

“Right now, I’m just coming in and getting back familiar with the offensive scheme and maybe play some special teams. Hopefully, I can come in and fill a role wherever they need me at. I just have to look at it as a new start, a fresh beginning, just try to make a huge impact at what I can do. Hopefully, I can get an opportunity as soon as possible to show them that I belong.”