Teammates support Edwards after drop

ATHENS, Ga. - As the player who holds the Georgia career records for catches, receiving yards, touchdown receptions and 100-yard games, <b>Terrence Edwards</b> might expect some public attention.Even after dropping a deep pass while wide open late in Saturday night's 20-13 loss to Florida, Edwards says he did not expect the attention he received this weekend.

Driving around Athens, Edwards saw painted on a car his picture beside that of teammate George Foster in a circle and a line drawn through it. Foster, a starting offensive tackle, drew a key personal foul penalty in the game.

"(Foster) just lost his composure,'' said offensive line coach Neil Callaway.

Foster's penalty is extra running this week.

Edwards' penalty were mean words left on his answering machine from a person posing as a fan.

"Some guy, a coward who didn't leave his name, didn't leave his number,'' Edwards said. "A few seconds later a friend of his called and apologized. That doesn't bother me.''

Edwards says he has not seen a replay or even highlights of the Florida game. Football, or football fanatics, took a position of secondary importance when Saturday night's game was over and he learned his mother, Jeannette, had been taken to a Jacksonville hospital after apparently fainting following the game.

Edwards said his mother was still having tests at the hospital Monday but hoped to be released by today. Asked about his morale following the game, Edwards said: "It's good. Having my mom ill in the hospital like that, you're not going to worry about little things like that. It's personal because we lost, but there are more important things  than a football game.''

Added Edwards: "I wish people around this Bulldog nation would think that. There's more than football. It's a game and everybody loves playing this game but my main concern right now is my mom and not that football game.''

Edwards left AllTel Stadium Saturday night as soon as he heard about his mother from Coach Mark Richt. Edwards then joined the team for its flight back to Athens, leaving his father and mother behind in Jacksonville. Because the drop came so late in the game and might have set up a game-tying touchdown, Edwards' play may become the defining moment of the game for Georgia fans.

But Edwards and his teammates said Monday that the dropped pass was only one of many mistakes and missed opportunities that led to the loss.

"I called him after the game and said 'Just keep your head up and don't lose focus,' " said teammate Damien Gary, who watched the loss from his hospital bed in Athens. Gary, recovering from acute compartment syndrome that required three surgeries on his left leg last week, was released from the hospital Sunday and, leaning on crutches, was with his teammates Monday.

"I just told him don't think one play was the difference in the game,'' Gary said.

Added defensive tackle David Pollack: "There were so many plays that could have gone one way or the other. You never blame the game on one play. Never.'' Pollack called the actions of fans who have targeted blame at Edwards as "pathetic.''

Said offensive tackle Jon Stinchcomb: "There are people who claim to be fans who I question their allegiance, especially this season when Terrence has given so much to this team, selflessly in so many ways."  

Edwards said he had no idea he was so open on the ill-fated play.

"Basically I knew I was open but I didn't know where the defender was,'' he said. "I was just trying to get the ball at the highest point so he couldn't get it, not knowing (the defensive back) fell down. I closed my hands and it just went through, bounced off.''  

Edwards went toward the ball, jumping up for the catch.

"I would have tried to catch it a different way if I knew (the defensive back) fell down,'' he said. "I would have caught it on the shoulder instead of attacking the ball the way they teach you to do if you know a defender is behind you or around you. I would have caught it in a better position on my shoulder.''

Edwards said he was watching Sunday's Atlanta Falcons game  against Baltimore when Falcons receiver Brian Finneran also dropped an easy pass when similarly open.

"It happens on all levels,'' Edwards said.

NOTES: Offensive guard Alex Jackson was wearing a walking cast Monday and is doubtful for Saturday night's home game against Mississippi with a sprained ankle. Freshman Josh Brock is the probable starter. Outside linebacker Chris Clemons (sprained ankle) and receiver Fred Gibson (thumb) said they will practice this week after missing the Florida game with injuries. CBS used a six-day option Monday for its SEC game on Nov. 16, so the kickoff time for the Georgia game at Auburn will not be set until after this Saturday's games. CBS also is considering the Alabama-LSU game.  Stinchcomb experienced some swelling in his surgically repaired knee and did not practice Monday.

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