There's one thing can say about Armanti Edwards---the guy knows how to survive. The former Appalachian State University All-America is alive and kicking and still searching for a spot on a National

Football League roster this fall. Edwards, a third-round draft choice of the Carolina Panthers in 2010, is currently a member of the Chicago Bears. And Edwards, who split time between the Panthers and the Cleveland Browns last fall, is among five players trying to fill a huge void for the Bears.



But considering his moxie and determination, Edwards might just be the guy the Bears want returning their punts and kick-offs this season. But Edwards, who led App State to a pair of (Football Championship Series) national titles (in 2006 and '07), has some big shoes to fill. He's hoping to replace Devin Hester, now a member of the Atlanta Falcons and the best kick returner in NFL history.


Edwards is among five candidates---Eric Weems, Micheal Spurlock, Chris Williams and Michael Ford are the others---vying for the job. Weems would appear to be the favorite, considering how well he played as a return man during his tenure with the Falcons. Weems has spelled Hester as a kickoff returner at times in the last two years.


Weems had a Pro Bowl season in 2010 in which he averaged nearly 13 yards on punt returns, 28 yards on kickoff returns. He also had a touchdown doing both, plus another kickoff return for a touchdown in the playoffs.


The Bears signed Edwards on June 2, when Domenick Hixon went down with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. Edwards, who is about to start his fifth NFL season, caught five passes in parts of four seasons with Carolina before he was cut last October. He played in two games with the Browns before injuring his ankle.


Among the remaining candidates in camp, Williams doesn’t have much NFL experience, but he’s the all-time record holder for kick return touchdowns in a season in the Canadian Football League, having run back six kicks for scores in 2012. Ford likewise doesn’t have much NFL experience but was second in the Southeastern Conference in kickoff returns in 2012, his final year at LSU.



Photo Courtesy: Armanti Edwards, Carolina Panthers