Earnest Edwards is disappointed that he didn’t land a spot on the Los Angeles Rams roster or their practice squad.
But the former University of Maine All-American said Tuesday other National Football League teams have shown interest and he is hoping to get another opportunity.
He came away from his first NFL training camp experience disappointed.
“[It was] cool, but, at the same time, I got cut so I didn’t accomplish anything,” Edwards said.
“I’m not happy about it.”
The All-Colonial Athletic Association wide receiver and kick returner from Rochester, New York, is waiting to hear from his agent about prospects.
The speedy Edwards is UMaine’s career leader in kick return yards (2,311), kick returns (90), kick-return touchdowns (6) and receiving yards (2,641). His 143 career receptions rank 11th and he averaged 18.5 yards per reception and scored 34 career touchdowns, including at least one in 18 of his last 19 games.
Edwards led the Football Championship Subdivision in kickoff return average last season (28.5 yards) and was third with 169.4 all-purpose yards per game.
He signed with the Rams as an undrafted free agent.
Edwards returned home on Monday from the Rams’ training camp in Thousand Oaks, California, after being waived by the team on Friday.
He believes he held his own during 7-on-7 and 1-on-1 drills during training camps.
NFL teams were allowed to keep just 53 players on their roster and 16 more on their practice squads, which were expanded in part because teams did not play any preseason games.
Edwards is convinced the inability to get a chance to play in an exhibition contest because of the COVID-19 pandemic significantly hurt his chances of making the team.
The Rams held only a few short scrimmages as part of their practices.
“I was one of the receivers who got the fewest amount of reps [in practice and scrimmages],” Edwards said. “But they have so much depth at wide receiver, I have no complaints. They have a lot of talent.”
The Rams kept six receivers, including eight-year pro Robert Woods and four-year pros Cooper Kupp and Josh Reynolds, the latter of whom each surpassed 1,100 receiving yards last season.
Another was second-year pro Nsimba Webster from Eastern Washington, a punt returner who caught four touchdown receptions in the 2018 Football Championship Subdivision national semifinal win over Edwards and the Black Bears.
Second-round draft pick Van Jefferson from the University of Florida and undrafted free agent Trishton Jackson, who played at Michigan State and Syracuse, were the other wide receivers retained. Undrafted free agent J.J Koski from Cal Poly made the practice squad.
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Edwards had the opportunity in California to get reacquainted with former UMaine teammate Jamil Demby, a third-year offensive guard. Demby appeared in six games for the Rams last season, but was relegated to the practice squad.
“He’s doing well. He has gotten stronger. I thought he deserved to be on the 53-man roster. That’s my opinion,” Edwards said.
The HBO series “Hard Knocks,” which provides a behind-the-scenes look at an NFL team, was filming the Rams.
“You have to watch what you say,” Edwards said. “Sometimes they’ll sneak up on you with their cameras. It was crazy knowing that was going on TV. I think they showed me walking by in the background.”
It was Edwards’ first trip to California and he said it was memorable.
“I loved the guys, the coaching staff, the football operations people and the facility. That’s why it hit me so hard when I had to leave,” Edwards said. “I met such a good group of guys, I wasn’t ready to leave.”
He said he needs the fun of playing football in his life.
Edwards said the coronavirus protocols were extensive and appeared to be effective.
“We got tested every day. Everything was sanitized and we had a big, old tent outside and we each had our own table six feet apart,” he said. “We had only one positive COVID test and that was right when we got there.”
Edwards is confident he can play in the NFL and said the experience at training camp has made him even hungrier to prove himself.
He also would enjoy the $8,400 per week earned by NFL practice squad players.