Hawkeyes in the NFL: Jets’ Edds turned heads

Also: Back surgery for Julian Vandervelde

Football, Sports, Sports Rotator, The Hlog by Mike Hlas, University of Iowa,
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August 11, 2014 | 4:04 pm

Former Iowa linebacker A.J. Edds was given a showcase with the New York Jets last Thursday night. He seized the day.

Edds led the Jets with seven tackles, six of them solos. He broke a finger, but returned to the Jets’ game against Indianapolis, and recovered a fumble that led to the Jets’ game-winning field goal.

Edds was one of just two players at the Jets’ May tryout camp — former Hawkeye offensive lineman Markus Zusevics was the other — who got an invitation to regular training camp with Rex Ryan’s team. Ryan spoke highly of Edds after the mincamp.

He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Miami Dolphins in 2010, but tore an ACL during training camp. He was waived by Miami the following September, picked up by the New England Patriots, waived, re-signed by the Pats and put on their practice squad, and then was signed by Indianapolis.

In the Colts’ 2012 training camp, Edds tore his other ACL, and was waived after the season. New England signed him last June, but cut him in August. And his NFL career looked to be on the rocks.

But the player kept training and rehabbing, got the Jets to take a look at him, and now he’s fighting for a roster spot.

He played 38 snaps Thursday night, 63 percent of the defensive snaps. What he did during that game only gave Ryan more reasons to take a longer look at him.

If you’re looking for a borderline roster guy who played well, wrote Dom Consentino of NJ.com, meet A.J. Edds.

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Injuries, alas, are omnipresent in the NFL.

Ex-Iowa offensive lineman Julian Vandervelde, a third-year Philadelphia Eagle, had back surgery last week.

Vandervelde played in 14 games for the Eagles last season as a backup lineman and a special teams player.

Never one to need anyone else to speak for him, Vandervelde tweeted this on Sunday:

I believe God has the best plan for me, and like Gandalf after he fell with the Balrog in Moria I shall return stronger than ever!

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Ricky Stanzi is in his fourth NFL season, and his second with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is playing to keep his roster spot more than to be slotted ahead of vet Chad Henne and rookie Blake Bortles on the Jags’ depth chart. His effort in Jacksonville’s 16-10 win over Tampa Bay last Friday may not have hurt.

Stanzi completed all four of his passes for 23 yards, and quarterbacked the Jags’ lone touchdown drive. It’s something.

Jacksonville claimed Stanzi off waivers from Kansas City prior to the start of last season. Stanzi has yet to play a regular-season down.

“I think everybody in the NFL has to have confidence they can play,’’ Stanzi said in May. “There are a lot of other guys in similar situations.’’

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According to Cleveland Browns Coach Mike Pettine, perhaps the best battle for a starting spot on the team is between veteran linebacker Craig Robertson and rookie Chris (they’re calling him “Chris” in Cleveland, not “Christian” like we did in Iowa) Kirksey.

The Browns’ website has this feature on Kirksey.

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This year’s team on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” is the Atlanta Falcons.

Falcons linebacker Pat Angerer of Iowa didn’t have a speaking part in last week’s first episode. What a missed opportunity.

In more important Angerer news, he returned to practice last Saturday. He had been sidelined since suffering a concussion on July 29.

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