Former NFL player, coach to keynote Bishop's Dinner
By RENEE WEBB, Globe senior reporter
“For me it has granted me peace and taught me to be a man of trust. I’ve always felt that our words and our life have to match up,” he said.
Known for his motivational speaking, this ESPN football analyst who is a former NFL player and coach will keynote the 18th Annual Bishop’s Dinner for Catholic Schools. The dinner will be held Oct. 12 at the Sioux City Convention Center.
“Once you rely on your faith, which is unseen, you live by faith, not by sight,” Edwards said. “You have to live your life that way and that’s very difficult for a lot of people.”
Part of faith, he added, means sharing your gifts with others.
“There is a reason we are granted all of these wonderful gifts, and it doesn’t come by our own talent. I’ve always believed that God gives us talent and then once we have a talent, we owe it to ourselves and God to live up to that talent.”
And talent he has. He played college football at the University of California at Berkeley, before joining the National Football League as a defensive back for 10 seasons, nine of those years were with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Following his pro career, he coached for three years at San Jose State University. From there, his career went back to professional sports but this time in coaching. He was a position coach for the NFL in Kansas City before going to Tampa Bay as an assistant coach. Edwards then took head coach positions with the New York Jets for five seasons and Kansas City Chiefs for three years. For the last six years, Edwards has worked as a football analyst for ESPN.
He compared coaching and parenting.
“When you are coaching, you are in a leadership position and when you are a parent, you are in a leadership position. When you are parenting, you are always teaching,” he said. “The way you live your life is very important - how you go about doing things and how you treat people. If you say you are a person of faith, then you have to act accordingly.”
Edwards acknowledged that it’s easy to act properly when things are going well, but it’s very difficult when they are not.
While he was educated in public school, his wife, Lia, is a product of Catholic schools.
“She attended a Catholic high school and graduated from a Catholic college – the University of San Francisco,” said Edwards, who belongs to Carmel Mission of Carmel, Calif.
The Edwards have three children. Their oldest, Marcus, attended a Catholic high school in Tampa and is now grown. Their daughters – Gabrielle, 9 and Vivian, 8 - attend Santa Cantalina Catholic School in Monterey, Calif.
He said they opted for Catholic schools because they wanted their children to have a faith-based education.
“Practicing your faith is obviously very important and I wanted them to be surrounded by that. I wanted that to be part of their experience going to school,” Edwards said. “It’s one thing to understand the worldly aspects of this world we live in, but it’s bigger than that."
Along with religious formation, he said the quality academics offered at Catholic schools “goes without saying.”
The speaker stressed the importance of practicing the faith.
“Because when everything breaks down, your faith is your strength,” Edwards said. “The thing I’ve learned about faith is that you have to live it. You can talk about it, but you have to live it and believe it. We all deal with speed bumps in life and when you have true faith and you believe, it gets you through those times.”
The sports analyst praised the Diocese of Sioux City for having an event like the Bishop’s Dinner to benefit Catholic schools. Given this is the 18th year for the dinner, he noted, that says a lot about the organizers of the event and people’s dedication to Catholic schools in the diocese.
“We work to make a living, but what we give is to make a life,” Edwards said. “If you read the Bible and believe it, this is part of your walk in life with Christ. You have to be able to give back. We are all servants.”
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