CINCINNATI – Mike Edwards started the biggest week of his football life with visits to three of his favorite hometown places.
The safety from Winton Woods High School and the University of Kentucky took the big step to the NFL in the third round of the draft Friday, and what better way to go down that path than with new Air Jordans?
“Jordan’s got the best shoes hands down,” said Edwards, who estimates he has 40 pairs of Jordans and about 100 pairs of shoes all together.
He concedes it's an addiction.
“Feels like my first pair of shoes - every time,” he said.
Edwards left Corporate, the sneaker store at Hyde Park Square, with the gray Jordan 13s.
There's no telling which pair he wore to greet the Tampa Bay Bucs staff after they drafted him with the 36th pick in the third round.
Next stop was Forest Park and the embrace of his high school coaches. Edwards became coach Andre Parker's first NFL draft pick.
Parker recalled that Edwards always wore a smile.
“You could be yelling or angry at Mike, he's gonna greet you with a smile. He's that kid you'd try to punish for goofing off in class and he's smiling while he's running,” Parker said.
Edwards remembered the exhausting running he had to do in high school.
“I never had no workouts like that,” Edwards said, calling Parker's even more grueling than at UK.
“He's not the only one who says that,” said Parker.
Edwards was one of the first elite prospects to buy into building a legacy at UK. He shunned offers from Wisconsin and West Virginia to play at 2-10 Kentucky.
“He changed the culture. Changed the people,” Parker said. “He wasn't a bandwagon guy. He put the bricks down."
Last stop was Escapades in Springdale, a beauty and hair shop where Edwards’ money is no good. His dad, aunt and cousin all work there.
“It's great. Don't have to pay for it for one thing," Edwards laughed.
Of course, the discussion quickly turns to the topic of hair - and specifically Edwards' blonde badger look and how long he'll have it.
Edwards' dad makes it clear that there's more to his son than football.
"He always gives back and that's what makes me most proud. Hasn't forgotten where he came from," he said.