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SIDELINES

An Emotional Day for Dolphins' Edwards

September 09, 2002

Sunday, when Robert Edwards reached an NFL end zone for the first time in four seasons, he knelt and said a prayer of thanks.

Later, he scored again--just to emphasize that his comeback from a calamitous knee injury is complete.

Playing in his first game since January 1999, Edwards scored the Miami Dolphins' final two touchdowns to punctuate a 49-21 victory over the Detroit Lions.

"I felt like I did when I scored my first touchdown as a rookie," he said.

The injury followed Edwards' rookie season as a 1,000-yard rusher for the New England Patriots in 1998. When he hurt his left knee playing flag football on a beach before the Pro Bowl in Hawaii, doctors feared amputation might be necessary.

Even when they saved the leg, the prognosis was gloomy.

"I was told my career was definitely over, and that I might not be able to walk without a cane," Edwards said.

Remarkably, thanks to a series of operations and arduous rehabilitation, the former first-round draft pick has regained much of his speed. He won a spot on the Dolphin roster as a backup to Ricky Williams, and he saw plenty of action in Sunday's blowout.

Edwards, 27, carried four times for 20 yards and caught four passes for 38--dazzling numbers only to those aware of his ordeal.

"He's just a special story," offensive lineman Mark Dixon said. "His heart and courage are something most of us can't comprehend."

Edwards' recovery came in fits and starts as he endured nightmares that his leg had been amputated. He was walking and biking only a few months after the injury, but it was last year before he was ready for a training camp tryout--with the Patriots.

Hampered by a groin injury, he practiced only twice and was cut. He signed with Miami after last season and said he felt great after Sunday's game.

"It's a huge step," Edwards said. "I think I'm capable of going out and doing that every week."

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Sunday's key injuries: Tennessee Pro Bowl defensive end Jevon Kearse broke a bone in his left foot and will be out at least six weeks.

* Oakland running back Zack Crockett was taken off the field on a cart after injuring his neck while covering a punt against Seattle.

He was able to move his arms and legs but was taken to a local hospital for tests. Coach Bill Callahan said X-rays were negative.

* New York Jet running back Curtis Martin did not play the second half against the Buffalo Bills because of a mildly sprained left ankle.

* Philadelphia offensive lineman John Welbourn broke his left leg on the Eagles' first possession against Tennessee.

The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Welbourn started 12 games for Philadelphia last season. Doug Brzezinski replaced him at left guard.

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* The Titans have won nine consecutive games against NFC East opponents, and are 7-0 against the NFC at home.

* Jacksonville lost its fourth consecutive home game dating to last season--the longest home losing streak in team history.

* Carolina's 10-7 victory over Baltimore was the Panthers' first win at home since Dec. 17, 2000.

Compiled by Houston Mitchell

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