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Brothers Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds make NFL draft history

Virginia Tech’s Tremaine Edmunds celebrates with fans after being selected by the Buffalo Bills. (Michael Ainsworth/Associated Press)

The football careers of Tremaine, Terrell and Trey Edmunds have been linked since the day legendary Virginia Tech football coach Frank Beamer sat down in a high school gymnasium in Danville, Va., and told their mother he wanted all three boys to be Hokies. Trey, the eldest, was a junior in high school. His brothers were still in middle school.

Next year, they’ll all be together in the NFL.

Tremaine and Terrell Edmunds provided one of the most memorable moments of Thursday night’s NFL draft, especially for Hokies fans, by becoming the first brothers to be picked in the first round in the same year. Tremaine, a 19-year-old linebacker who was also the second-youngest player to be drafted since 1967, went to the Bills with the 16th overall pick. Terrell, a safety, was taken by the Steelers at No. 28.

“We can finally say that we made it,” Tremaine Edmunds told reporters after Thursday’s first round.

Trey, a running back who spent three seasons at Virginia Tech before transferring to Maryland, was picked up by the Saints as an undrafted free agent last season.

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Tremaine, a 6-foot-5, 235-pound third-team all-American in 2017, had 226 tackles and 35 tackles for loss in three years at Virginia Tech and was expected to go high in the first round. Terrell, a 6-foot-2 redshirt junior in 2017, played cornerback, rover and free safety for defensive coordinator Bud Foster. He had 182 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and six interceptions in three years as a starter.

Terrell wasn’t expecting to hear his name called in the first round, but was at AT&T Stadium on Thursday to support his youngest brother.

“I was surprised, honestly,” Terrell Edmunds told reporters after the Steelers made him one of the last picks of the first round. “I’m ready. I’m telling you I’m ready.”

The entire family was in Arlington, Tex., including mother Felicia and father Ferrell, a former Pro Bowl tight end who played in Miami and Seattle. The focus Thursday night figured to be only on Tremaine, but the Steelers had other ideas.

“He comes from a great family,” Steelers General Manager Kevin Colbert said of Terrell Edmunds in a news conference. “His father, Ferrell Edmunds, I was actually with the Miami Dolphins when we drafted him.”

Colbert told of having dinner with Tremaine, Terrell, Felicia and Ferrell the night before Virginia Tech’s pro day.

“To watch that family interact, it was truly encouraging to see two great players coming from such a great family,” Colbert said. “It was a neat moment.”

The Edmundses were the 10th and 11th first-round picks in Virginia Tech history and the first since the Bears drafted Kyle Fuller — he of another great Hokies’ family dynasty — at No. 14 in 2014. Trey, Terrell and Tremaine were the last of 25 sets of brothers Beamer coached in his 29-year career. Kendall Fuller, Kyle’s brother, called Thursday night’s milestone “a blessing.”

Terrell Edmunds used the same word.

“It’s a blessing for my family overall,” he said.

Colbert saw the Edmunds brothers as most did in Blacksburg: Tremaine, whom his parents still call “baby boy,” is a little quieter. Terrell is more outgoing. Their connection was easy to see when they lined up together at Virginia Tech — they barely needed to speak above a murmur to communicate.

“He’s a smart, mature guy,” Colbert said of Terrell. “His brother is a little quieter, he’s younger, but Terrell was more the out front, verbal guy, so that was fun to see. But the way they interacted together and then to watch them the next day on the field and again just to see their parents involved with the football aspect of it, it was nice to see.”

Ferrell Edmunds, now the head football coach at Dan River High and a member of the Pittsylvania County Sports Hall of Fame, was a third-round pick by the Dolphins in the 1988 draft after playing at Maryland. He lasted seven seasons in the NFL, starting 80 games and making the Pro Bowl in 1989 and 1990. In the run-up to this year’s draft, he said the family’s remarkable football success was built on hard work.

“I’ll start with my grandfather who worked in the tobacco fields,” Ferrell Edmunds told Roanoke’s WDBJ. “One of his theories and one of his favorite sayings was, ‘Boy, I want you to work from can to can’t.’ When I was little, I was trying to figure out what the ‘can to can’t’ means. He’d say ‘can in the morning, can’t at night.’ Don’t let anybody outwork you. That’s what we’ve passed on to our boys more than anything else.”

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