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Falcons' Edwards eager to prove he belongs after acquisition

FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Ray Edwards longs to prove that the Atlanta Falcons were wise to sign him to a $30 million contract.

With two sacks, five quarterback hits and two fumble recoveries in nine games, Edwards, like many Atlanta fans, is disappointed in his lack of production.

The sixth-year defensive end, who had 16.5 sacks in 2009-10 with Minnesota, doesn't believe he's making enough plays.

"It's all been a little rough for me, and I'm definitely letting my team down in not getting enough pressure on the quarterback and things like that," Edwards said Friday. "It's started a little rough for me, but I'm a fighter and I'll keep fighting."

Even so, these aren't exactly terrible times for Edwards, who is guaranteed $11 million in his new five-year deal. His new team in Atlanta is 5-4 and in playoff contention. His old team in Minnesota is 2-7 and tied for last in the NFC.

Unfortunately for Edwards, his first season with the Falcons has come with some difficulties. He underwent knee surgery during the lockout and still lacks full mobility when trying to beat blocks.

Another adjustment is adapting to Atlanta's eight-man rotation on the defensive line. With the Vikings, Edwards was accustomed to playing every snap.

"In Minnesota, I didn't come out of the game, so I'm definitely still getting used to coming out of the game," Edwards said. "You've still got to keep the high energy up when you're rotating in and out. I'm still kind of battling with that, but that's what the coaches want me to do, so I'll continue to play to the best of my ability."

Some of Edwards' frustration manifested itself recently in his refusal to talk to reporters, but he broke a month-long silence in an interview with The Associated Press. He still won't discuss the extent of his injury and declines to say if his offseason training as a boxer affected his knee.

"It's all been a little rough coming off the surgery," he said. "I'm still trying to get my legs to 100 percent. Well, one leg is 100 percent, one's not. So I'm trying to get that back together and still go out there and produce. That's the plan."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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