Dwan Edwards brings his message home
A year ago, Columbus graduate Dwan Edwards and the North Carolina Panthers were well on their way to a spot in the Super Bowl.
Now retired from the NFL after a 12-year career, Edwards came home last week with a mission close to his heart:
•Speaking to kids to inspire and motivate them.
•Taking the opportunity to do public speaking, which is something the former defensive tackle wants to do now that he has more time, said his wife, Kelsey Edwards from the couple’s home in Charlotte, North Carolina earlier this week.
Edwards made the trek home last week to be with his mother – Cass Hense-Hegg – on her birthday. Of the handful of days he was back, Edwards spent three full days speaking at several schools in Stillwater County and in Laurel. The visits were coordinated by the Park City PTA.
Columbus Elementary School Principal Marlene Deis said Edwards’ message was that of working hard and controlling your destiny.
Edwards is perhaps the definition of those elements.
He told the students a little about his time growing up in Columbus, where he was a 3-sport athlete and senior class president. He attended college at Oregon State University on a full-ride scholarship, where he spent five years as a full-time student, athlete and a father. He took summer classes to get ahead and graduated earlier in his senior year with a degree in business administration.
Then came the NFL, where he played for the Baltimore Ravens, the Buffalo Bills and then the Carolina Panthers. The highlight of that career came with the Super Bowl appearance last year against the Denver Broncos.
“One thing he stressed over and over was for students to take advantage of what other people have to teach them and to work hard. He also encouraged students to lift others up and not be too prideful,” said Deis.
Edwards closed his talk by telling students they can control things in their lives no matter how young or old they are. He labeled this APE: attitude, preparation and effort. These three things are the things you control everyday. No one else can work on these, said Deis, adding that the message came loud and clear to all of the students who got to hear him speak.
Kelsey Edwards said the family of seven recently bought a home in Charlotte.
“We absolutely love it here,” she said.
And for now, Edwards is “just enjoying life, enjoying his family, and getting to travel,” said Kelsey.