He was supposed to be solidifying his role as LeRoy Butler's replacement at strong safety, instead Antuan Edwards has spent the preseason sidelined by injury. Friday he returned to the practice field saying he's healthy and anxious to contribute.
"I feel really good," Edwards told the media after his first practice back. "I've been working for this all offseason. The time has come, I'm ready to go."
Edwards' injury-plagued stretch dates back to the third regular season game of 2001, when he suffered a torn ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) in his left knee while on punt coverage. This summer, he rehabbed the knee, but had his progress delayed by an injured groin.
Now, with roughly a week of training camp remaining, Edwards said he's prepared to compete both physically and mentally.
"When I'm healthy, I can play, when I'm not healthy, it's tough," Edwards said. "That's what I waited on, I waited until I was ready to go and I'm ready to go . . .
"The adversity I've been through, it's been hard, but my mind frame now is to work as hard as I can to get back and to play the game that I always wanted to play as a little kid. That's my mind frame now, to get back, to help this team win."
Edwards' return couldn't have come sooner for the Packers. Between Butler's forced retirement this spring due to the incomplete healing of his shoulder, Edwards' knee, Marques Anderson's hamstring and Scott Frost's shoulder, selecting the team's No. 1 strong safety hasn't been so much a situation of finding the best player, but the healthiest one.
Packers GM/Head Coach Mike Sherman said he would evaluate Edwards after Saturday's practice before making his final decision, but expected that the 1999 first-round draft choice out of Clemson would see action in Monday night's preseason home opener against the Cleveland Browns.
"(It) seemed like he had some live legs, was very aggressive, quick, fast," Sherman said of Edwards' performance in Friday's morning practice. "I'm optimistic he's going to play in the game (Monday), very much so."