NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Irony is an inescapable part of life, a truth that former Tennessee State University football player Kadeem Edwards experienced as he stood on the opposite sideline of former TSU assistant coach Kevin Mashack in his first ever professional game.
On Aug. 8, Edwards’ Tampa Bay Buccaneers played Mashack’s Jacksonville Jaguars in both teams’ first preseason game. Edwards was an offensive lineman from 2010-2013 at TSU while Mashack was coaching the running backs during the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
"It was nice to see Kadeem play in his first NFL game,” coach Mashack said. “To watch him come this far from the kid we recruited, to seeing him in the Senior Bowl to tonight, has been a fun process to watch.”
Edwards played a handful of series during the fourth quarter of the game and fared well. He kept his quarterback free and clear, not allowing a sack, while also creating running lanes by knocking defenders back.
“It still seems surreal that I played in my first NFL game,” Edwards said. “I have been dreaming about this since I was a little kid.”
He is currently in the mix for one of the starting guard spots, battling with four other hopefuls. One quote motivates him every day to strive for that goal.
“Good, better, best. Never let it rest, until your good is better and your better is best.”
Edwards was drafted 143rd overall (fifth round) by the Bucs, the first lineman taken by Tampa Bay since 2009. Scouts lauded him for his size and his wingspan. The Buccaneers are looking to him to fill the void left by the departure of veteran Davin Joseph.
Mashack likes Edwards’ chances.
“He's going to be a very good pro,” Mashack said. “He's been a great representative of TSU in the way he's carried himself and in his play.”
Mashack is in his second year with the Jaguars as a scouting assistant. He is a key part of the evaluation process for Jacksonville leading up to the NFL Draft day. He looks at game film of prospects as well as attends Pro Days at various colleges.
“We had a nice conversation before the game about his experience so far, and mine as well, this being my second year in the league.”
Edwards and the Buccaneers will be playing at home against the Buffalo Bills this Saturday at 4:30 p.m. The game will be broadcasted live on NFL Network.