Philadelphia linebacker T.J. Edwards had just finished up an All-American junior year at Wisconsin the first time the Eagles hoisted the Lombardi Trophy following the 2017 season. Little did he imagine that in a few short years, he would be on that massive stage trying to help the Eagles win it again.
Philly’s leading tackler will play in the biggest game of his life Sunday in Super Bowl LVII against the Kansas City Chiefs.
“It’s cool. It’s really cool,” Edwards told Sports Spectrum on Monday during Super Bowl Opening Night at Footprint Center in Phoenix. “It’s a crazy experience — an incredible experience — and I’m just blessed to be here with these guys. We’re trying to take it all in and be in the moment, for sure.”
Despite his statistical output as a collegian, Edwards wasn’t drafted in the 2019 NFL Draft. But he was given a chance as an undrafted free agent with the Eagles, made the team and hasn’t looked back. After playing primarily as a backup as a rookie, Edwards has firmly cemented himself as an integral defensive starter in the three years since.
In fact, he’s one of the main reasons why they’ve advanced this far. Edwards was the team’s leading tackler in 2022-23 with 159 combined tackles in 17 games, tied for seventh most in the entire NFL. The 26-year-old has fortified a defense that ranked second in yards allowed per game this season (301.5) and has allowed only 14 points in two playoff games.
Yet his development this season wasn’t limited to just becoming a premier linebacker on the field.
“Recently this year, I started going to Bible studies and things like that,” Edwards told Sports Spectrum, “really just trying to immerse myself as much as I can and trying to follow in the lead of, honestly, a lot of my teammates, a lot of people in the organization. It truly helped me become closer (to Him), and I’m very grateful for it, for sure.”
He continued later, “Every week, there are certain messages that Pastor Ted (Winsley) has for us. … It helps to just take a step back from football and really just be with God and be with your family, your friends. So that really does the most for me in terms of taking a step back and realizing there’s always a bigger picture.”
Edwards has been motivated by his faith to give back to his community, including participating in the NFL’s “My Cause My Cleats” initiative, in which players can showcase on game day a cause that’s important to them.
— Philadelphia Eagles (@Eagles) December 1, 2022
— T.J. Edwards (@TJEdwards8) May 21, 2022
Sunday’s Super Bowl is set for 6:30 p.m. ET at State Farm Stadium. It will feel to many, including Eagles and Chiefs players, like the most important event of the year. But Edwards has come to learn this season, more deeply than ever, that there’s a much bigger picture God is painting for His glory.
“I’m a believer, and everything I do is for Him,” Edwards told Sports Spectrum. “It’s a blessing to be here where we are today.”
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