Athletics

Liberty retires No. 83 jersey of former Cowboys player Kelvin Edwards

By Ron Brown, October 31, 2019

Since early childhood, Kelvin Edwards (’86) learned that God can make all things possible for those who believe.

Edwards overcame poverty to achieve a college education and land on an athletic journey that took him from “street ball” to an NFL career. He became an All-American football player at Liberty University and a wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, his childhood dream team.

Edwards and his four siblings were raised by a single mother in a one-room apartment in a public housing project constructed on top of an abandoned cemetery in Atlanta. He played games with the neighborhood children on makeshift fields, using rocks or empty water jugs as balls.

He said his mother, Patricia, taught them to never dwell on the material things but to focus on the spiritual abundance they had in the Lord.

“I was so honored and blessed to have a mother who provided us with what we needed,” Edwards said.

She also taught her children that perseverance and forgiveness were two of God’s greatest attributes and that boundless blessings belong to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Edwards said he tried to mirror her Christian values and strong work ethic.

As a young man, he slept with a Bible on his chest to protect him from the slings and arrows of the world.

“It was my steel,” Edwards said.

In high school, he became a decorated star athlete in multiple sports and said if it were not for athletics, he might have dropped out. In his senior year, he began understanding the value of an education after college recruiters told him that they admired his athletic ability but his grades could be a stumbling block to getting into college. He set to work and became the first in his family to graduate from high school.

When considering her son’s college options, Patricia Edwards was intent on her son receiving a Christian education and, as a supporter of Liberty’s founder, Dr. Jerry Falwell, she wanted him to attend Liberty.

Edwards helped Liberty Athletics’ flagship program make the move to the NCAA ranks. The wide receiver shined during a star-studded four-year career (1982-85). A 1985 Associated Press Little All-America first-team honoree, Edwards finished his career as the program’s all-time leader in receiving yards (2,546) and receiving touchdowns (22). Both records stood for 26 seasons before they were eclipsed by Chris Summers in 2011.

Morgan Hout, former Flames head coach, said Edwards stood out because of his dedication to the football craft.

“He was very inquisitive and wanted to know about his opponent and the team we were playing,” Hout said. “His attitude was one of pure joy.”

Kelvin Edwards

See how Liberty University helped one man fulfill his childhood dream to play in the NFL.@New Orleans Saints Dallas Cowboys Liberty Flames Football #KelvinEdwards

Posted by Liberty University Game On on Thursday, September 10, 2015

After graduating from Liberty, Edwards was selected in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL Draft by the New Orleans Saints, and he went on to play with the Dallas Cowboys from 1987-89 before his pro career was cut short by injury.

Edwards was inducted into the Liberty Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009, and this year, on Oct. 19 during Liberty’s Homecoming football game, his No. 83 jersey was retired.

Edwards’ family operates a luxury car dealership in Dallas. He and his wife have nine children; their son Kyler is a member of Texas Tech’s basketball team, which competed against University of Virginia for the 2019 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship last spring.

Looking back at his days at Liberty, Edwards said the time was pivotal to his life and career.

“It changed my walk,” he said. “It started off being all about ball. It ended up being all about God.”

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