Spokane’s newest addition didn’t need introductions to most of his teammates, the Shock administrative staff or football followers in the Inland Northwest.
Former Eastern Washington University receiver Nicholas Edwards has joined the Shock, roughly a year after serving an internship with the organization.
Edwards drove players to and from the airport, made sure players arrived at medical appointments and spotted the ball between plays at practice for an internship last summer as part of his recreational management class.
It was another step toward earning his degree, but along the way he checked out the playbook and paid attention to play calls. Still, it never crossed his mind that he’d be suiting up for the Shock.
“I didn’t really give it a thought because I thought I’d make it (in the NFL), but it was intriguing when ‘Rigs’ (general manager Ryan Rigmaiden) talked to me,” Edwards said. “Football is football and I love football, so I took the jump.”
Edwards finished fourth at EWU in career receptions (215), fifth in yards (2,634) and second in touchdowns (33). Those statistics and his 6-foot-3, 205-pound frame attracted NFL interest. He had a tryout with the Minnesota Vikings but was released.
“I was surprised I got released,” he said, “but I have another opportunity here so I have to make the most of it.”
It’s too early to know what role Edwards will have with Spokane, which has one of best receiving units in the Arena Football League.
“He’s got a ton of potential,” head coach Andy Olson said. “Great hands, very good body control and the thing I like most is he does everything you ask him to do and catches almost everything thrown his way.
“Right now we’re planning on developing him and seeing how he comes along.”
Edwards is adjusting to the indoor game, played with sidewalls on a 50-yard field.
“It’s a lot different. Most people think it’s all one-on-one but there’s a lot of help. You have to understand the game first,” he said. “It’s a passing game and you get a lot of throws coming your way.”
Players took advantage of last week’s bye week, resting their bodies after a 14-game stretch without a break.
A few traveled to Las Vegas, where the team’s “All In” motto didn’t necessarily work out, offensive lineman Chris Pino joked. Linebacker Beau Bell went home to California.
Defensive back Terrance Sanders and wide receiver Adron Tennell stayed in town, spending time with their families. Olson and a handful of players worked out a few times at the team practice facility.
“I was moving from my old place into a new one,” Sanders said. “That was my own personal workout. I spent the first two days relaxing and the other days moving.”
Offensive lineman Patrick Afif has been put on injured reserve with a hairline fracture in his leg. The former Washington State Cougar was injured in Spokane’s win over Utah on June 21. Pino suffered bruised ribs, but is expected to play. … The Shock will hold a rare outdoor practice today on the fields at Valley Real Life. … Spokane (10-4) leaves Friday for Saturday’s game against Tampa Bay (7-7). The Shock will remain in Florida to prepare for their final road game, at Jacksonville on July 12. … San Jose (10-4) and Spokane are tied for second in the West Division. Spokane holds the tiebreaker with a sweep of the season series.