Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Armanti Edwards (10) fails to make the catch during second half CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in Hamilton, Ont. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Toronto Argonauts wide receiver Armanti Edwards (10) fails to make the catch during second half CFL football action against the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, in Hamilton, Ont. (File photo by The Canadian Press)

Veteran CFL receiver Armanti Edwards remains a quarterback at heart

Veteran CFL receiver Armanti Edwards remains a quarterback at heart

Armanti Edwards is a receiver by trade but a quarterback at heart.

The 32-year-old American continues to prepare for his first CFL season with the Edmonton Football Club after the league cancelled the 2020 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But before coming to Canada, the five-foot-11, 183-pound Edwards was a standout college quarterback — including being at the helm for one of the most famous upsets in NCAA history.

Edwards remains convinced he could’ve played the position professionally.

“If it was up to me I’d be playing quarterback but I’m the employee, not the employer.,” Edwards said during a telephone interview Tuesday. “There’s no doubt in my mind I could, otherwise I wouldn’t have been playing the position to begin with.

“My quarterback days are long gone now … I’ve moved on. Obviously at the beginning of my professional career it was very disappointing because that’s the position I played since I was six years old and was one of the reasons why I was in love with the game.”

Edwards enjoyed a successful tenure at Appalachian State, leading the North Carolina school to its second and third straight Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division 1-AA) titles in 2006 and 2007. In the latter year, Edwards led the Mountaineers to a stunning 34-32 upset of Michigan, passing for 227 yards and three TDs while rushing for 62 yards and a touchdown before more than 109,000 fans at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Edwards became the first player to win the Walter Payton Award — given annually to the FCS’s top offensive performer — in consecutive years (2008-09) and twice overall. He started 49-of-51 college games, passing for 10,392 yards with 74 touchdowns and 33 interceptions while rushing for 4,361 yards (5.8-yard average) and 65 TDs.

Edwards was taken in the third round, No. 89 overall, of the 2010 NFL draft by Carolina. But he had twice as many catches (six for 131 yards) as pass attempts (three, completing two for 11 yards) ) over four seasons with the Panthers and Cleveland Browns before being among the Chicago Bears’ final 2014 cuts.

Edwards was out of football until 2016 when he joined the CFL’s Saskatchewan Roughriders as a receiver. He was dealt to Toronto the following year and spent three seasons with the Argonauts — winning a Grey Cup in 2017 and registering career highs in catches (69), yards (1,014) and touchdowns (seven) in 2019 — before signing with Edmonton as a free agent.

Based upon his background and experience at quarterback, Edwards wasn’t the least bit surprised Sunday when receiver Kendall Hinton struggled mightily in his first NFL start at QB for the Denver Broncos.

Denver activated Hinton, a rookie, from the practice roster hours before its 31-3 loss to the New Orleans Saints. Hinton, who played quarterback at Wake Forest before switching to receiver in his senior season, was pressed into action after all four of Denver’s quarterbacks went on the reserve/COVID-19 list.

Predictably, Hinton had trouble, finishing 1-of-9 passing for 13 yards with two interceptions.

“There’s a lot of hard work and preparation that goes into it,” Edwards said. “It takes all of training camp and sometimes even a few games into the season for a starting quarterback to get into sync with everything and everyone.

“All season you have a quarterback working with his receivers, the running backs and offensive line and now you’ve got a guy back there who hasn’t played the position all season? That’s pretty hard.”

In his younger days, Edwards looked up to former NFL star Michael Vick, a fellow left-hander who routinely made big plays with his arm and legs. At six feet and 215 pounds, Vick was bigger than Edwards. Often in pro football, players are judged more for their physical traits than playing ability.

“It’s all an eye test, that’s what today’s game is all about,” Edwards said. “It’s not about what you’ve done on film, to me personally.”


Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine is displayed at a pop-up vaccine clinic for EMS workers Center in Salt Lake City on January 5, 2021. Yukon Community Services Minister John Streicker says a Vancouver couple accused of flying to a remote Yukon community to get the COVID-19 vaccine are getting a notice to appear in court. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Bowmer
B.C. couple accused of flying to Yukon to get COVID-19 vaccine to appear in court

If convicted, they could serve up to six months in jail

Canadian Pacific Rail locomotives sit idle at the company’s Port Coquitlam yard east of Vancouver, B.C., on May 23, 2012. Canadian Pacific Railway Ltd. says it will seek shareholder and regulatory approval for a five-for-one split of its common shares. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
CP Rail beats earnings forecasts as Q4 profit up 21 per cent despite softer revenues

Coal volumes fell one per cent, energy down 27 per cent

FILE - In this Jan. 3, 2019, file photo, a man leaves an Apple store in Beijing. Apple says it will roll out a new privacy control in spring 2021 to prevent iPhone apps from secretly shadowing people. (AP Photo/Andy Wong, File)
Apple to crack down on tracking iPhone users in early spring

App Tracking Transparency will be part of software update

A lone passenger stands outside the International Arrivals area at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Tuesday, Jan. 26, 2021. As the federal government prepares to slap new restrictions on foreign arrivals, Health Canada data suggest a growing number of infections directly connected to international travel. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Holiday season vacations coincide with rise in COVID-19 travel-related cases

486 COVID-19 cases diagnosed in recent travellers in December

People protest against new anti-abortion laws, near the ruling Law and Justice party headquarters in Warsaw, Poland Wednesday Jan. 27, 2021, to protest after the country’s top court on Wednesday confirmed its highly divisive ruling that will further tighten the predominantly Catholic nation’s strict anti-abortion law. The Constitutional Tribunal published the justification of its decision, which will take immediate effect.(AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
Poland: Near-total abortion ban takes effect amid protests

People poured onto the streets of Warsaw and other cities late Wednesday

Canada’s Rachael Karker competes during the women’s World Cup freestyle ski halfpipe event in Calgary, Alta., Saturday, Feb. 16, 2019. The X Games are Karker’s first and perhaps only chance to compete this season. The Canadian freestyle skier’s breakout performances in Aspen, Colo., the last two years launched her into the world’s elite in halfpipe. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
X Games an island in a competition desert for Canada’s top boarders, freestyle skiers

Rachael Karker will drop into the Buttermilk Mountain halfpipe Friday

Canada’s Haley Smith makes a jump during the women’s cross-country race at the Nerrang mountain bike trails during the 2018 Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast, Australia, Thursday, April 12, 2018. When COVID-19 swept across the country last spring, forcing lockdowns and cancelling sporting events, Canadian mountain biker Haley Smith’s response was swift — train harder. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Rick Rycroft
Canadian mountain biker Haley Smith climbing back from ‘rock bottom’

For years Smith has spoken about living with anxiety and her eating disorder

A carved stone pillar is shown in this July 2020 handout photo. The Royal B.C. Museum says it has confirmed a carved stone pillar found at low tide on a beach in Victoria last summer is an Indigenous artifact. The museum says in a news release it will work with the Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations to determine the most suitable home for the pillar carved with the features of a face. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Royal BC Museum, Grant Keddie
Carved stone pillar found on B.C. beach identified as Indigenous artifact

Museum working with Songhees and Esquimalt First Nations

Fashion mogul Peter Nygard is shown during a bail hearing in Winnipeg on Jan. 19, 2021, in this courtroom sketch. Lawyers for Nygard are back in court today arguing for his release as the Canadian fashion mogul faces charges of sex trafficking and racketeering in the United States. Nygard, who is 79, was arrested last month in Winnipeg under the Extradition Act and faces nine counts in the southern District of New York. His lawyers are expected to present a new bail plan after the judge presiding over the bail hearing criticized the previous one. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tadens Mpwene
Bail hearing continues for fashion king Peter Nygard on U.S. sex charges

Nygard has the means to flee, say federal lawyers

FILE - Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford has his final meeting of the season with the media at the NHL hockey team's practice facility in Cranberry, Pa., in this Wednesday, May 9, 2018, file photo. Pittsburgh Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford, a Hall of Famer who helped lead to a pair of Stanley Cup titles, resigned abruptly on Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)
Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Penguins GM Jim Rutherford, who oversaw Cup wins, resigns

Outfielder George Springer is shown in a screengrab from a virtual news conference he took part in on Wednesday, Jan.27, 2021. Springer says he's excited to be a part of a young, talented team like the Toronto Blue Jays, a club he believes has plenty of potential. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Blue Jays introduce outfielder George Springer after signing him to six-year deal

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Bucs fans set to cheer inside, outside Super Bowl stadium

Most Read