Bucs Playmaker Sends Strong Message on Role

Tom Brady

Getty New Bucs running back Chase Edmonds could take a load off of receivers Chris Godwin and Mike Evans plus whoever will start at quarterback after Tom Brady.

New Tampa Bay Buccaneers running back Chase Edmonds expects big things in 2023 despite a down year in 2022.

“I’m grateful for the opportunity to go to Tampa, and I’m grateful that I get to play with someone like [quarterback] Baker Mayfield,” Edmonds told Rick Stroud of the Tampa Bay Times. “Someone else whose chip is huge. Just to feed off the energy and do things that people expect you to do, individually and collectively as a team.”

Edmonds arrived as a free agent last month with much to prove. He spent the 2022 season with two different teams, the Miami Dolphins and Denver Broncos, as he produced only 245 yards and two touchdowns in 13 games played.

“And you know, last season was, just straight up, my worst season ever in all my years of football. Performance-wise, it was just not up to my standard at all. It’s very humbling,” Edmonds told Stroud.

Edmonds Relates to Mayfield

Edmonds finds Mayfield relatable for similar reasons.

Mayfield, who also signed with the Bucs in March, spent the 2022 season with the Carolina Panthers and Los Angeles Rams. He didn’t impress overall with a 2-8 record amid 2,163 yards passing and 10 touchdowns versus eight interceptions — a far cry from his best season in 2020. He threw for 3,563 yards and 26 touchdowns versus eight picks that year as he led the 11-5 Cleveland Browns to the franchise’s first playoff win since 1994.

Edmonds believes he can return to his own best years of football when he averaged 4.7 yards per carry with the Arizona Cardinals over four seasons between 2018 and 2021. He also averaged 7.2 yards per reception in that time span.

“It’s on the film from my first four years doing it,” Edmonds told Stroud. “I know I can be an elite third running back in this league, and I’m going be one of those guys where I’m a big-time mismatch with linebackers coming out of the backfield and I’m eager to prove them wrong. I’m eager to get back out there, you know, add that chip back on my shoulder.”

Edmonds Carries a Big Chip from a Small School

Edmonds made a name for himself at a small FCS school in college — Fordham.

He burst on the scene in 2014 with 1,838 yards rushing and 23 touchdowns to win the Jerry Rice Award, which goes to the top freshman in the FCS. Other notable NFL players have won that  award such as Rams wide receiver Cooper Kupp in 2013 and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance in 2019.

Edmonds concluded his college career with 5,862 yards and 67 touchdowns as the Cardinals made him a fourth-round draft pick in 2018. Only the second Fordham player drafted since 1955 at the time, Edmonds became a regular in the backfield right away and played in all 16 games that year.

“I remember coming into the NFL, my chip was just so big, being a [Football Championship Subdivision] guy,” Edmonds told Stroud. “I always had to scrap and work for everything. And not that I lost that chip, but Year three, Year four, I was playing a lot of snaps. I was really one of the guys in the locker room and the human natural reaction is, like, content, you know what I mean? Like you just don’t have that same [drive].”