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He caught a pair of touchdown passes in what was just the Argos third win of the season. He turned into a defensive back at one point in the end zone, knocking a potential interception away from a defender.
Yet after Toronto’s 28-21 win over Ottawa last week, nobody wanted to speak to the receiver. It wasn’t anything personal, but on that night S.J. Green hauled in 10 passes for 180 yards, caught the 700th pass of his career, and reached the 10,000-yard career mark.
For Amanti Edwards, he was okay with that.
Edwards is like a blue-chip stock. You never have to worry about him, he just produces whenever needed. He’s fast, has fantastic hands, and has a superb football I.Q.
Still, he gets lost in the shuffle at times.
S.J. Green is who he is. The 100-yard games don’t come as often as they once did, but the Argos are 3-0 in games this year when he reaches that total. Last year Edwards was the No. 2 receiver behind Green, but this year that changed.
The Argos signed free agent Derel Walker in the off-season, meaning he’d supplant Green as the top receiver, moving Edwards down to no better than the third option.
Still, he’s found a way to contribute. He has 51 catches this season, amassing 749 yards, meaning he still has a shot at 1,000 for the season, a mark he’s fallen painfully shy of in each of his two seasons in Toronto, finishing with 962 in 2017, 974 last year. His six touchdown catches this year has set a career high.
That’s at least a little consolation for Edwards, who brings a lunch-pail mentality to the locker room every day.
“People don’t always realize it, but this is our job,” Edwards told Argonauts.ca. “It’s an interview for us every day at practice, especially on game days, it’s always an interview. That alone keeps you mentally into it.”
The native of Greenwood, South Carolina is a coach’s dream. He’s uber prepared, quiet, never complains, and contributes when needed. That obviously makes Argo Head Coach Corey Chamblin a fan.
“You want guys like that,” said the coach. “He just goes to work. Even if he’s frustrated, it’s very rarely that you’ll see him express it. He’s one of those guys that grinds, he doesn’t say much, but he just works all the time. He’s a good teammate.”
Edwards first gained national attention while playing quarterback at Appalachian State. It was a dozen years ago that the Mountaineers, an FCS team, upset the highly-favoured Michigan Wolverines 34-32 at The Big House. He’d spend four years in the NFL, mostly with Carolina, and mostly as a returner, but he’d never forget his roots as a quarterback.
“Armanti is such a smart football player,” said current Argos QB McLeod Bethel-Thompson. “He played the quarterback position, so he sees the whole game. He’s just a really, really intelligent football player.”
His second touchdown catch against Ottawa was a perfect example of that.
“We ran the play earlier, the one he threw to Derel Walker in the end zone,” explained Edwards. “I was open back side because of how they played. We came back to it and they had switched up the coverage (laughs), so me and Mac, we just played ball. I went outside and he just back shouldered the throw.”
Bethel-Thompson confirmed that it was one of those cases where Edwards saw something, then expressed that info to his QB.
“It was a double-post concept, and I had not gone to him earlier,” said M B-T. “He expressed to me that he wanted the ball because he felt he was going to be open. He kind of slipped and went backside, which is the worst place for a post, but I was stuck on him already. I put it in a spot that he could only catch it and he made an amazing catch.”
The Argos will play the next three games with nothing to gain in the standings, but plenty to gain in experience, and in Edwards case, the potentially reach a milestone that has eluded him, barely, in each of the last two seasons.
Whether he gets there or not, one knows he’ll be ready come game time, grinding it out and just waiting for his chance to contribute.