LB Donnie Edwards Returning to Chiefs

The Associated Press
Saturday, March 10, 2007; 7:33 PM

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Donnie Edwards is coming back to Kansas City. Edwards, the free-agent linebacker who spent the first six years of his NFL career with the Chiefs, agreed Saturday to a three-year deal after the San Diego Chargers didn't try to re-sign him.

Chiefs spokesman Bob Moore confirmed the agreement, but said reports of the deal being worth about $14 million were wrong.

"It'll happen, but nothing's signed yet," Moore said.

The 33-year-old Edwards found himself on the outs with San Diego general manager A.J. Smith last season despite a standout career with the Chargers.

He was San Diego's top tackler in all five of his seasons there, finishing the 2006 season with 141 tackles in the regular season and 13 more in the Chargers' only AFC playoff game. He also had 2 1/2 sacks and three interceptions.

However, Edwards' requests for a contract extension didn't go over well with Smith, who put him on the trading block last spring and allowed him to become a free agent after the season.

Edwards, who will be playing in his 12th NFL season this fall, has 1,359 tackles, 21 1/2 sacks and 27 interceptions. Six of his sacks came with the Chiefs in 1998.

The Chargers used him as an inside linebacker in their 3-4 set. But the Chiefs, who play a 4-3, have already signed free-agent Napoleon Harris to a six-year deal and expect to use him at middle linebacker. That leaves Edwards and Derrick Johnson as Kansas City's likely outside linebackers.

The deal with Edwards is the latest move in the Chiefs' push to upgrade the defense since Herm Edwards took over as head coach in 2006.

The 2005 and 2006 defenses were almost identical in yards per game _ averaging around 328 yards each season _ but last year's team ranked 16th in the NFL in total defense, up from 25th the year before.

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