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Former York High football standout Ben Edwards has been given a second chance to tryout in front of NFL coaches.
If Edwards performs well during the New York Giants three-day rookie mini-camp that runs Thursday to Saturday, the Yorktown native could potentially make his dream of playing in the NFL come true.
On Tuesday, Edwards received an invitation from the Giants to attend their rookie mini-camp, in which NFL hopefuls will compete for an invitation to a larger summer training camp. This tryout will be Edwards’ second with the Giants after briefly meeting with the team last year.
Edwards did not get far with last year’s tryout, as he was six months removed from ACL surgery. The Giants, concerned about his injury, refused to sign Edwards to the roster.
Three other NFL teams – the Baltimore Ravens, Cleveland Browns and New Orleans Saints – gave Edwards similar feedback last season, expressing concerns about his knee injury.
However, the Giants never completely shut the door on Edwards as a prospect, inviting him back more than a year since his surgery.
“They gave me a year to see if I’m healthy and in shape,” he said. “Hopefully I can get signed this time around.”
Fully recovered from his injury, Edwards is ready to show the Giants his capabilities.
With a 6-foot, 200-pound frame, Edwards will not be a physically imposing receiver compared with other NFL players. However, his measurables align with other talented slot receivers in the NFL such as Danny Amendola (5-foot-11, 195 pounds) and Wes Welker (5-foot-9, 185 pounds).
“He fits a certain mold as a slot receiver kind of guy,” York football coach Doug Pereira said. “He has the speed and the hands for it.”
A graduate of York in 2010, Edwards garnered Bay Rivers District Player of the Year honors in his junior season before suffering two injuries during his senior year. Despite the injuries, Edwards managed to rush for 808 yards and 11 touchdowns in five games during his senior year.
Partially due to his injuries and size coming out of high school – 5-foot-10, 175 pounds – Edwards was not highly recruited coming from York. During his senior year, Edwards held scholarship offers from the University of Richmond, James Madison University and William & Mary.
Eventually signing with Richmond, Edwards played with a chip on his shoulder and became a two-time First-Team All-Colonial Athletic Association selection. Edwards ranks second all-time in career receptions at Richmond with 208. He is also tied for sixth all-time at Richmond with 15 touchdown receptions, as well as sixth in school history with 2,202 receiving yards.
Failing to make an NFL roster last season after graduating from Richmond in 2014, Edwards spent time serving as a recruiter for Fork Union Military Academy.
York High Athletic Director John Ashley said Edwards maintained a good relationship with current York athletes, often stopping by the school and chatting with student-athletes in his free time.
“In the recent years since he left Richmond, he comes in here and keeps in touch with current players,” Ashley said. “Our current players look up to him. He’s a great role model for York High School.”
Pereira shared Ashley’s sentiments about Edwards, saying he is a better person than he is a football player — high praise for someone about to try out for the world’s most competitive football league.
For Edwards, simply having the opportunity to finally prove himself in front of NFL coaches is a dream come true.
“In this business nothing is promised, and I’m ready to show them I’m in the best shape of my life,” he said. “Even if I don’t make the team, I’m extremely blessed to have this opportunity regardless of the outcome.”