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Mario Edwards Jr. returns to practice, says he’s fully cleared

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Mario Edwards Jr. practiced and spoke to the media for the first time since late last season.

Mario Edwards Jr. practiced and spoke to the media for the first time since late last season.

Mario Edwards Jr. returned as a full practice participant Tuesday for the first time since suffering a neck injury in Week 15 of last season.

Edwards, a second-year defensive lineman whose promising rookie season was cut short by the injury, said he’s fully cleared and will suit up for full contact when training camp begins in late July.

“It felt great to be back with the team, out there working hard with the guys,” said Edwards, addressing the media for the first time since his injury. “Ready for the next day.”

Tuesday was the start of the Raiders’ three-day mandatory minicamp, their last time together until training camp gets underway in Napa.

The team has been very vague about the nature of Edwards’ injury since it occurred. Coach Jack Del Rio termed it a “significant” injury at the time and general manager Reggie McKenzie revealed in February there was some thought it might be genetic in nature.

But Edwards said on Tuesday that it was “just a sprain in my neck” and he never had any real concerns that he might not return to the field.

“We knew exactly what it was and I was ready and I was just doing everything with the training staff to get back to where I needed to be so I could come out here and practice today,” Edwards said.

Edwards had spent some time on the practice field during the team’s organized team activities, but had not yet gone through a full practice until Tuesday. He instead had been doing a lot of work with the team’s strength and conditioning coach Joe Gomes.

“It looks like he’s been working hard,” Del Rio said of Edwards. “He’s been working hard with Joe, doing the things he can do. He was able to join us today. It’s good to have him back.”

Edwards started 10 games last year and had 2 ½ sacks and was emerging as an impactful and versatile piece on the defensive line before he got hurt.

“Any time anyone’s having a good season and anything like that, it’s always devastating,” Edwards said of his year getting cut short. “But I know the work I’ve got to put in this year to pick up where I left off so that’s what I’m focusing on now.”

Del Rio believes Edwards has plenty of potential.

“Sky’s the limit,” Del Rio said. “He’s a really talented player. He’s got a lot of passion and he’s super athletic for such a big man.”

Linebacker Malcolm Smith said it was great for the team to finally have Edwards back with them.

“That’s big time,” Smith said. “He’s worked hard to get back to where he is, kind of getting the favor of the doctors and stuff. That’s good to see and he’ll have a great year too I expect.”

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Jimmy Durkin

Sports writer for the Bay Area News Group, covering the Raiders.

  • I dont think he has ever been cut on,

  • Miamiraider78

    McFragile, what a bust!

  • PlunkforHOF

    Cthulhu

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Wrestled-to an extent- all manner of llamas up to 500 lbs, arm around the neck holding on to a fence trying to gain control/trust.
    Did learn when to let go. The hard way.
    125 lb little girl needed treatment orally, and pulled my elbow (200 lb plus in OK ranch shape) out of it’s socket.
    ( Go for the joke)
    Point is, you never know.

  • R8der4evr

    But DONT drop your cell phone

  • inonewordraider

    So he says

  • DutchRaid

    Why settle for the lesser evil!

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Instinct.
    I understand that part.
    You think his brain is going to calculate how much he makes and how much it is worth before trying to save it?
    I do the same with a coffee cup or the half and half out of the fridge.
    Have saved a few, and they’re worthless.

  • Llama wrestling is a hard way to make a living
    You should take up pimping instead

  • Post to the Ghost

    Not often we celebrate punters, but “Raiders are Raiders, are Raiders, are Raiders, are Raiders, are Raiders, are……” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gcF9aoO5grA

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Not proud enough to capitalize?

  • And the City of Green Bay has approved the master plan to create the Stadium Entertainment
    District.

    Zennie Abraham
    ‏@zennie62

    Green Bay moving forward with Stadium Entertainment District –

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    My elbow didn’t actually weigh over 200lbs.

  • FriskiesR8R

    Gonna kill the green bay bowl n fun

  • R8der4evr

    What are you talking about?He pimps Llamas,

  • inonewordraider

    Oj was good, what murray should strive to be (on the field)

  • Teabag McKenz

    In team sessions, TJ Carrie was back fielding punts.

    Hope he can secure that spot this year and we get some consistency there. We really need a returner to step up and stand out, that has definitely been a weakness of ours the past few seasons.

  • M.Shorter

    Come on. Theres 2 new posts brothas

  • inonewordraider

    We’ve already seen what he could do at pr….not much

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Yes, there is a reason posts have stopped happening here.

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Actually, never carried one.
    Some day I’m going to regret not having one 24/7, but hopefully not carrying one for ten years plus will make up for it.

  • Miamiraider78

    Pimp my Llama! “This Llamas parents died in a fire, so let’s paint flames on both of its sides.”

  • Purvisman/Eternal Optimist

    Not settling.
    embracing all.

  • Teabag McKenz

    His rookie season he showed some promise but he did regress last season, although we had no consistency whatsoever at PR. I like that they are giving him another crack as he did average 11.8 yards over the course of his college career returning punts and we really don’t have anything too much more promising on the roster as is.

  • Miamiraider78

    I was about to say, I thought this experiment failed already. Must be back to the drawing board?

  • Miamiraider78

    Playoffs or bust? Raiders have pieces in place to return to postseason
    ——-
    http://www.si.com/nfl/2016/06/14/oakland-raiders-nfl-playoffs-reggie-mckenzie-derek-carr-amari-cooper

  • r8dercain

    I’ll hit u up personally bro..

  • fonso gando
  • fonso gando