Questions and Answers with Colts linebacker A.J. Edds . . .
Question: What was it like growing up in Indiana as a Colts fan?
Answer: "I was a big Colts fan growing up as a kid. Obviously, once Peyton (Manning) came in, really kind of the late 1990's and early 2000's, was when I took an active interest. It was a fun team to watch, support and cheer for growing up as a kid, because of all the success and all of the talent across the board, offensively and defensively. The Super Bowl teams and the one successful championship (team) were a lot of fun to watch."
Q: You played football and other sports at Greenwood High School. Who were your biggest rivals?
A: "I would say our big rivals, football-wise, we were big rivals with Whiteland and Mooresville. I would say those were our two biggest (rivals). Then it was Roncalli. We didn't play Roncalli every year, but we played them once my senior year in football. In basketball, we were pretty big rivals with Center Grove. If we would have played them in football it would have been the same way, but we didn't play them in football. I'd say those south-side area schools (were rivals), and then Mooresville was always a big game because both programs were successful the whole time I was in high school."
Q: What were your experiences playing sports in high school? Was football your first passion?
A: "Yeah, football always has been kind of my first passion, and I'd actually probably put track before basketball in my book as well. I ran track (and I) was pretty successful in high school, and I enjoyed it. I hurdled, so that is kind of a labor of love a little bit. I had a lot of fun with basketball, but I think I played so much as a kid growing up in the winters that I might have gotten a little burned out on it."
Q: When was it when you decided you might like to play college football and when did you know your talents would let you have that opportunity?
A: "I had always kind of wanted to play football in college, but I didn't know what level I would be able to (play). After my freshman year I started getting some notice from some of the area schools. Ball State really (was) kind of being the first one after my freshman year in high school. Talking with my dad who played college football at Indiana, I talked to him and he said, 'Hey, if you dedicate yourself to this, make the right choices and you really put time into it, then football could be a real opportunity for you.' "
Q: When was it when you first realized you had a chance to play in the NFL?
A: "As far as playing in the NFL, I kind of realized that I could or had the potential to after my sophomore or junior season at Iowa. A lot of the guys that I had played with on defense were getting drafted and (were) playing in the NFL. I knew that if I kind of followed their path for success, which was a lot of dedication in the off-season in the weight room, a lot of film study and that kind of stuff, then I would at least have a chance. I didn't know if I would be good enough, but I would at least give myself a chance after my senior season to have a shot at this thing. I don't know if there was any one definite moment, but seeing a lot of the guys that I played with and lined up next to have a chance to be successful in the NFL is what allowed me to realize that it was a realistic opportunity."
Q: You played with other future NFL players while you were at Iowa. Who were they?
A: "I played with a lot of really successful guys at Iowa. The guys in my class and the guys on either side of me, older and younger, (allowed me to) play with some really good guys and some really talented guys that really helped us a lot with the success we had (at Iowa). My senior year we went 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl, and a lot of that (is because of the players I played with). (Adrian) Clayborn, Pat (Angerer), Tony Moeaki and Ricky Stanzi playing quarterback, those guys had a lot to do with that kind of stuff."
Q: How difficult was it for you when you were hurt in your rookie season with Miami?
A: "It was a tough deal, because I had never really been injured. I had some small surgeries here and there through my career that were athletic-related injuries, but I never missed any time. So hurting my knee in the first week of camp as a rookie was a little bit of a blow. Once I finally calmed down a little bit and talked to guys that had been through the ACL deal, I realized that it was not a career-ender, and it wasn't going to really slow me down career-wise like it would have 10-15 years ago. So many guys have had this injury and come back and been fine. Knock on wood, but I feel great now, and mine doesn't bother me at all. It was definitely tough to watch my first year from the sidelines or from home but I think in the long run, I will have been able to gain some knowledge and a view from the outside in a little bit that will hopefully help me."
Q: What was it like replacing Pat Angerer for your first extended playing time at New England?
A: "You never want to see anybody get injured, especially a guy like Pat (Angerer), a buddy of mine. Right now he and a couple of other guys are kind of the heartbeat of our defense. Pat is all around the ball, and last I checked he was leading the league in tackles. It was a tough deal for him, but that's kind of the nature of this business. You have to be able to step up and perform when your opportunity arises. I would be the first to tell you, going back and looking at the film, I could have played better. There were a lot of things that I could have done differently to have helped our chances to have gotten the win, but it was good experience and a good opportunity to get out there and play. You just always have to be ready, because you don't know when that chance is going to come. Especially backing up a position, it's a tough, physical and violent position, and it's not unusual to see guys get banged up as the season goes on. So you always have to be ready, do your homework and do your preparation as if you're going to get a chance to go in there, because you never really know if you will or not. You don't want to be the guy that blows it if you do get that chance if someone does, unfortunately, go down."
Q: What has your first season with the Colts been like?
A: "It's been a tough year on the field as far as wins and losses but at the end of that day, that's what you get measured by, your wins and how you perform. Unfortunately we haven't been able to be where we want to be this year, so that's tough. But you lose a guy like Peyton (Manning) and it's funny how it ripple-affects down. People on the outside start finding excuses, but I think we've stuck together well as a group. The leaders of this team have really held the group together. A lot of the things that you see when you have losses like this aren't happening here. You don't see any of the bickering in the locker room, you don't see finger-pointing and those kinds of things that are easy to do. You can tell that it's obviously a close, tight-knit group with great leadership. The offense, defense and the coaches have been around for a while. That aside, it's nice to be close to friends and family, and to be able to play in front of the family. My parents can make it to the games, and that kind of stuff is always nice. It's something that you kind of take for granted a little bit, and then you get an opportunity like this and it's pretty special to be able to play in front of such a strong support network."
Q: Do you have any post-football career plans?
A: "If it ended today, then I would probably want to go into athletic administration. I think, with some experience, I could be a pretty decent college athletic director. I did a little internship actually going into my senior year at Iowa in the summer with our foundation there in Iowa City with the fund-raising side of things. I kind of got to see some of the behind-the-scenes ways that an athletic department works and that kind of stuff. I know some people, obviously, at Iowa, and I have made some other connections that down the road. Hopefully not too soon, I will be able to go into that line of work. Like I said, I would like to be an athletic director at a big school someday."