Kevin Gorman: Steelers' top pick Terrell Edmunds thanks his mom
Felicia Edmunds believes it is through God's grace and mercy that her sons Tremaine and Terrell became the first brothers chosen in the first round of the same NFL Draft last month.
When the Steelers selected Terrell Edmunds 28th overall, it was 12 slots after his younger brother Tremaine was picked by the Buffalo Bills.
The former Virginia Tech standouts joined a fraternity that includes their father, Ferrell, a former tight end for the Miami Dolphins and Seattle Seahawks, and brother Trey, a running back for the New Orleans Saints.
No wonder Felicia Edmunds believes she is truly blessed. But blessed beyond words? Think again.
“Most definitely, we're in a unique situation,” Felicia said breathlessly by phone Saturday. “A wonderful, surprising, delightful, incredible, amazing situation. For it to happen like this, it's super awesome. ... I don't know that anybody could have written a script for it to come out this way.”
Not like her, anyway.
With Terrell and Tremaine attending their respective rookie minicamps this weekend, they won't be home in Danville, Va., to celebrate Mother's Day with Felicia. That's a tradeoff she can take, considering the circumstances.
“Of course, I would love for them to be here,” Felicia said, “but it's a good reason for them not to be here, so I can live with it.”
Terrell Edmunds is trying to make an impression on the Steelers as strong as his mother did in a pre-draft visit with an inquisition of general manager Kevin Colbert and coach Mike Tomlin.
The Steelers drafted into another football family with their top pick last year when they took T.J. Watt, who has a pair of NFL brothers in J.J. (Houston Texans) and Derek (L.A. Chargers) he can call for advice.
But Terrell and Tremaine will go through each step together.
“It is unique, and I'm sure it's been chronicled on a lot of fronts,” Tomlin said. “But he's no different than anyone else in that that unique relationship is not going to help him make plays out here. I'm sure at night he's having good, familiar conversations with a guy that's in a very similar position. But out here, he's got to make the plays, and I'm sure he and everyone understands that.”
Colbert called the Edmunds' a “great family,” and they are one that preaches practicing the golden rule: Treat others as you would want them to treat you.
That's why Felicia, an only child, won't be alone Sunday. The Edmunds' are a foster family who have welcomed 21 children into their home over the past 17 years, including three current boys, ages 16, 12 and 11.
Felicia created a close bond with her sons through love, sometimes tough love. She insisted on them saying yes-and-no sir/ma'am and wasn't willing to wait for her husband to come home to handle problems with the boys.
Saying they wanted something wasn't good enough to Felicia and Ferrell, who insisted their sons work toward their goals.
That's why Terrell doesn't flaunt his first-round status. He intends to distinguish himself by using his grandfather's “work from can to can't” motto.
“She prides us in being respectful and using our manners, no matter who you are, not being that big-headed guy,” Terrell said.
“We're not those types of people. We're always humble. We're always out there working each and every day, just like everybody else.”
When the Edmunds brothers decided they wanted to follow their father's footsteps and play in the NFL, Felicia and Ferrell kept them focused on that track, even if meant saying no.
“I can't thank my mom enough. I definitely love my mom — and my father,” Terrell said. “You can say I'm a mama's boy. You can say that a little bit, but that's just how it is.”
Terrell and Tremaine have spent this weekend trading minicamp stories. Where 19-year-old Tremaine is a 6-foot-5, 235-pound outside linebacker for the Bills, 21-year-old Terrell is a 6-2, 217-pound safety for the Steelers.
“We definitely talk about it,” Terrell said. “There's definitely a support system. It's not something I have to tell him every day because it's been embodied in us over the years.
“My older brother and my mom and dad are the same way. They don't have to tell me every day ‘good luck' or ‘go ahead and do your thing' because that's the mindset, the mentality that we have: When we're out there, we've got to make a play. When we're not out there, learn new stuff.”
The story of the Edmunds brothers, Terrell said, is just getting started. And they plan to represent their parents with the way they play and treat others.
“Quite honestly, I take more pride in that than them being football players,” Felicia said. “You're not going to be a football player forever. But you've got to live the rest of your life.
“We're more than happy that they're good people who happen to be good football players.”
On this Mother's Day, Felicia Edmunds can not only count her blessings but won't run out of words.