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Updated: April 13th, 2011 8:07am
Ray Edwards plans to make professional boxing debut next month

Ray Edwards plans to make professional boxing debut next month

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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Long before the NFL lockout began, Ray Edwards said he planned to pursue a second career as a boxer if it dragged on.

On Tuesday, the Minnesota Vikings' left end took a step in that direction by signing a contract for two professional bouts, beginning against an opponent to be determined on May 20 at Grand Casino Hinckley.

"It's something I've always wanted to do in my life," Edwards told the Star Tribune. "I can't put my eggs all in one basket, waiting for the NFL to settle the lockout. You never know when this lockout is going to end."

Edwards has boxed as part of his training regimen for years, but this will mark the first time he's gotten into the ring as a professional. According to the Star Tribune, Edwards' boxing contract includes $5,000 guaranteed, plus 50% of the gate from the May 20 bout, and he'll receive the same amount for another fight in June at the casino if the lockout hasn't ended.

Because Edwards is not under contract for next season, he could box even if the NFL hadn't locked out players last month. Standard NFL contracts prohibit such activities.

The Vikings placed a first-round restricted tender worth $2.836 million on Edwards last month. However, six-year players such as Edwards are unlikely to be restricted under the next labor agreement, and the 26-year-old has made clear on several occasions he doesn't believe he's in the Vikings' plans.

"It will come down to contract," Edwards said in January. "I just have to take care of my family so we'll see where it goes."

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
In this story: Ray Edwards
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