Former Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle Ray Edwards: Boxing is Safer Than the NFL

Former NFL defensive tackle Ray Edwards is of the belief boxing is safer than football.

May 15 2013, 12:02am CDT | by

Former Atlanta Falcons Defensive Tackle Ray Edwards: Boxing is Safer Than the NF
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Ray Edwards, a former NFL defensive tackle of the Atlanta Falcons, believes boxing is safer than pro football

The website Baller Status reveals Edwards' sentiments about boxing over America's Game: 

"It might sound crazy to some people, but for sure, I believe boxing is a safer sport than football now. Football is the only sport that is 100 percent injury prone. In football, you don't know what's coming, where you are going to get hit, how you are going to get hit. You play for a long time, chances are you are going to tear your MCL or ACL. You can break your leg, snap your femur, break your arm, break your neck."

Edwards emphasizes the predictability of the hits and the presence of the referee in substantiating his claim as reported by Yahoo! Sports:

"In boxing, you know where the hits are coming from - it is the guy stood in front of you. In boxing you might break your hand or break your nose and if you get knocked out you can get a concussion. But also, the referee is right there and you are more protected. In football, you never know. The game moves at such a pace that you might never see it coming. You can get hit when you are completely defenseless."

According to ESPN, Edwards, a Purdue alumnus, gave boxing a shot in May of 2011 during the NFL lockout. He won his first professional bout by unanimous decision over TJ Gibson in Minnesota before recording three consecutive knockout victories within the third round. 

The same ESPN report was able to capture Edwards' enthusiasm for boxing after his NFL career was over:

"I'm 100 percent into boxing. Nobody's called me; nobody's called my agent. I'm moving on with my life because the NFL doesn't stop me. They will keep going."

Chris Wesseling of says Edwards was cut by the Falcons in November of 2012 because he refused head coach Mike Smith's directive to join a team gathering in the postgame locker room. 

Wesseling also confirms Edwards worked out with the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks after he was released but didn't get any offers. When no NFL team came calling within the first quarter of 2013, he realized he was labeled as a "bad locker room guy."

His thoughts on this as per

"I think Mike Smith (gave me the problem player label) because me and him weren't on the best of terms. He felt someone was better than me, but I knew he wasn't. Players didn't agree with him. He just didn't like me."

Now that the NFL is completely behind him, Edwards is setting lofty expectations for himself as a pugilist, according to ESPN:

"I want to be heavyweight champion. Anything less than that, I failed myself, my trainers and all those who believed in me. I know it's kind of early to say this, but I know how to think the game."

If Edwards' words become prophetic down the line, pro football's loss will truly become boxing's gain. 


Poch de la Rosa follows all major U.S. sports: NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and the NCAA. His favorite teams are the Colts, Braves, Pacers, Sharks and Irish, respectively.


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