If A.J. Edds has proved nothing else while pursuing his NFL dream, it’s that he won’t give up on it.
Not so long as his body cooperates, which it hasn’t always.
Two years ago, after suffering his second ACL tear in three seasons, his playing days seemed over.
Despite sitting out 2012 rehabbing and sitting out 2013 with no offers, the former Greenwood Community High School star didn’t ponder retirement. He actively pursued opportunities and received one in May when the New York Jets invited him to a rookie camp tryout.
One of several veterans trying to stand out in the crowd, Edds did and was offered a contract. Two months later, he made the active 53-man roster.
But in late October, Edds — a 6-foot-4, 256-pound linebacker — finally seemed to have reached the end of the road. After playing on special teams in the season opener, a lingering hamstring injury sidelined him for four weeks. He eventually returned, made three more special teams appearances but was released on Oct. 28.
Yet it wasn’t the end of the road.
On Dec. 3, Edds was signed by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
He continues to live the dream — no small achievement for a 27-year-old who has overcome multiple injuries and challenges from myriad younger, healthier players for an invaluable active roster spot.
Anyone remotely familiar with Edds’ journey knows how remarkable his story is.
A fourth-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, he suffered an ACL tear on the fourth day of training camp missed his rookie season.
After a year of grueling rehab, he returned the following season, survived the last training camp cuts and was waived a few days before the season-opener.
Signed by the New England Patriots a few days later, he made his NFL debut on “Monday Night Football” (against the Dolphins); was waived a weeks later; was re-signed to the Patriots’ practice squad; then signed from the practice squad to the active roster by the Colts, his hometown team.
Edds finished the season with the Indianapolis, appeared to have a future here then tore his other ACL on the first day of training camp in 2012.
Until he joined the Jets, he hadn’t played in a regular-season game since the 2011 season.
But three years later, here he is, back in the NFL, back on an active roster, back earning a living doing what he loves to do.
Through steel will and determination, he’s still living the dream.