First Tom Zbikowski, now Minnesota Vikings defensive end Ray Edwards is turning to professional boxing while the NFL lockout continues.
From the Minneapolis Star Tribune:
"It’s something I’ve always wanted to do in my life," Edwards said during a break in his training at Higher Power Training in Eden Prairie. "I can’t put my eggs all in one basket, waiting for the NFL to settle the lockout. You never know when this lockout is going to end."
Edwards, 26, began incorporating boxing into his football training routine four years ago. He became more serious about boxing when the lockout became a probability about two years ago.
The 6-5 Edwards looks to be in prime fighting shape. He has just 8 percent body fat and weighs 255 pounds, which is about 13 pounds below his playing weight. His boxing trainer is Jeff Warner, a former professional heavyweight boxer and a pastor at the Rock Church Center in Burnsville.
According to the article Edwards has signed for a guaranteed $5,000 plus of half of the gate proceeds on May 20. Should the lockout last that long he will fight again in June under the same terms.
The six-year veteran is unsigned isn’t expecting to return to the Vikings. Edwards claims to be more focused on his boxing career than football at this point. If so that’s great news for the fight game, which can always use heavyweights that can sell tickets.
The number of soft touches at the higher weight classes should allow both Edwards and Zbikowski a solid year to build up their reputations and fan followings while they adapt to the sweet science. But whether either can pose a real threat at the world-class level remains to be seen.
Another former football player and Stiff Jab favorite Seth Mitchell is attempting to pull the same feat by crossing over and securing a world title shot, but Mitchell has yet to face a real test. If any one of these guys turns into a legit contender he could be the most marketable American heavyweight since Tyson hung up his gloves.