Defensive End Mario Edwards Jr.
After nearly four months on the shelf, defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. took the next step in his recovery process Monday afternoon, returning to practice for the first time since injuring his hip during the team's preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
"You guys have been asking, and you didn't ask about Mario yet, but he is going to return to practice," Head Coach Jack Del Rio said during his Monday press conference. "We'll begin that window where we get him up to speed, but he will be out there today."
Edwards did indeed take part in the team's Monday walkthrough, and following the day's session, No. 97 addressed the media.
"It felt good just to get back out there with those guys," Edwards said. "My last time being out there with them was against the [Arizona] Cardinals in preseason, so to get back out there with them now, just even if it is a practice, just to get back out there, the comradery, and things like that, definitely felt good."
"I think it fired us all up," added quarterback Derek Carr when asked about Edwards' return. "To see him out there, just to see what he's went through in the last year. Again, another thing where this game is a lot more than just a game. This affects our lives physically sometimes and to see him back out there doing something that he loves, I know that that felt good for him."
After an impressive rookie campaign that saw the former Florida State Seminole appear in 14 games and tally two sacks, Edwards hasn't played a meaningful snap since injuring his hip in the early stages of the of the team's preseason opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
Edwards described his injury as "a freaky kind of situation," but after getting out and running on the field last week, and then officially returning to practice Monday, Edwards is looking forward to getting back to work with his teammates.
"It sucked, but everything happens for a reason," Edwards said when discussing his injury. "I'm healing up great, and I'm looking forward to coming back and playing."
Over the past month or so, the Raiders defensive line has really begun to round into form, so add Edwards to that mix, and the Silver and Black's formidable front gets even scarier.
"Oh yeah, I've been dreaming about that, especially seeing [Khalil] Mack strip Cam [Newton], and things like that, just wanting to be out there , and be a part of that," Edwards explained. "I've been foaming at the mouth ever since then."
Now that Edwards has returned to practice, Del Rio and the Raiders have will have 21 days to activate the versatile defensive end from the Reserve/Injured list to the active roster, or he will remain on IR for the rest of the season.