Steelers' Terrell Edmunds teaches virtual gym class to students

All three of the Edmunds brothers are in the NFL now. Two are, this week, exactly two years removed from being first-round selections, and those same two -- Terrell and Tremaine -- are two years into being vital starters for their respective teams.

But back in Danville, Virginia, at the Edmunds family home, one thing remains the same: Mom's running the workouts. With a whistle.

"Of course we listen to her," middle brother Terrell said of Felicia Edmunds. "If you know our mom, you're listening to her, too."

Terrell, 23, is a safety for the Steelers. His older brother, Trey, 25, is a running back and his teammate in Pittsburgh. And the youngest of the Edmunds Bros, Tremaine, 21, is the Bills' starting middle linebacker, fresh off his first Pro Bowl campaign. All through high school, it was their mom -- an elementary school phys-ed teacher -- who'd put them through runs and sprints, accepting nothing but full effort.

Now, with the COVID-19 pandemic putting most of the nation under shelter-in-place guidelines, closing all NFL facilities and forcing coaches to implement virtual offseason programs, the Steelers' Mike Tomlin and Bills' Sean McDermott can at least rest easy that their respective Edmundses are working just as hard as they would for them. Maybe harder.

"There's no slacking off with her," Terrell said.

Tuesday, it was Terrell making sure no one was slacking off -- and channeling a bit of his mother while at it: He taught a virtual gym class. The Steelers asked him to lead a 45-minute online physical education session for the Urban Academy of Greater Pittsburgh, and he happily did, guiding jumping jacks, squats, lunges, the whole routine. The students counted alongside him, and peppered him with questions afterwards.

"I've never been a teacher," Terrell said, acknowledging some nervousness, even as he looked like a natural.

Staying connected is a whole new endeavor these days, one that requires engaging in different ways and moving outside easy routines.

Pittsburgh's defensive backs are on a group text chat, encouraging each other and monitoring each other's workouts via social media. Edmunds noted corner Steven Nelson, who's coming up on his second year with the Steelers, as a guy who's been working exceptionally hard. But then Edmunds laughed and said, "Actually, I don't know if he's working the most, or just posting the most on Instagram."

After the arrival of Minkah Fitzpatrick -- in a wholly uncharacteristic Week 3 trade -- the Steelers' back end improved significantly. Pittsburgh released hybrid linebacker Mark Barron in March, meaning Edmunds could see more play inside the box this coming year, depending on who the Steelers bring in via this week's draft.

And so Edmunds is preparing, as best he can. He said there's no sleeping in at his parents' home. He and his brothers do their conditioning work together with mom, and get in the family weight room together with dad. (Ferrell Edmunds was a third-round pick of the Miami Dolphins in 1988 -- when, incidentally, current Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a Dolphins scout -- and spent seven seasons in the NFL as a tight end, making two Pro Bowls.) Tremaine, whose Bills beat the Steelers last December doesn't talk trash to his brothers ("He knows better," Terrell said), but may have challenged his dad to some feats of athleticism last week ("My dad's film is actually pretty impressive," Terrell added).

Terrell says he's paying attention to the latest reports on COVID-19 as much as the next person. He heard last week, when Dr. Anthony Fauci -- the country's top infectious disease expert -- speculated on professional sports re-starting, but perhaps with all the participants confined to hotels and fans held off from attending games.

"I would be willing to do it," Edmunds said, if that was the way the NFL season had to begin. "I don't think it's anyone's preference to live in a hotel for three months, but if that's the safest route, hopefully everyone is going to make the right decision."

Until then, though, there's mom and her whistle calling.

Follow Aditi Kinkhabwala on Twitter at @AKinkhabwala

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