LINEBACKER, SAN DIEGO CHARGERS
portrait by Joey Terrill
SINCE THE day in 1993 that his grandfather Max, a World War II soldier, gave him photos and clippings from the war, Edwards has obsessively collected military items. "Metals, badges, money. EBay's been good to me," he says. "I have albums of WWII photos from Americans, Australians, Japanese, Germans." Edwards, 31, often visits sites of historical wartime events, and he and his wife, Kathryn, went to France last July to the site of the Battle of Normandy. "I wanted to see where we pretty much saved the world," says Edwards. "It was amazing. I sat there for like 30 minutes, just sitting on the sand." Last year Edwards--who leads the Chargers with 55 tackles this season--was contacted by the Navy Public Affairs Office and flown to the U.S.S. Abraham Lincoln off California, where President Bush gave his "Mission Accomplished" speech. A photo of the event later appeared on the cover of TIME. "I'm in the background," says Edwards, "like Forrest Gump."
TIGHT END, JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS
portrait by Brian Smith/Corbis-Outline
GIVE HIM enough "troops" and Brady can reenact just about any Civil War battle, a talent that stems from his boyhood, when he lived near Gettysburg, Pa., and his father, John, would enlist the family for battlefield excursions. "He'd study where the guys encamped, then we'd go out and find artifacts that they'd left behind," says Brady, 32, who caught a TD pass last Sunday. Brady's interest in the War Between the States intensified nine years ago when he read Michael Shaara's Pulitzer Prize--winning novel, The Killer Angels, about the Battle of Gettysburg. "It spurred a desire to read more about these people, that era," says Brady, who has an extensive collection of Civil War books. "I read The Civil War Infantryman, which talked about making 20-mile marches in the dead heat of summer in wool uniforms, then sitting down to eat salt pork. I'm sleeping in air-conditioned hotels, with good food every day and, like, a made-to-order omelet station. Who am I kidding about how difficult this is?"