PITTSBURGH (AP) — Ferrell and Felecia Edmunds didn’t make things overly complicated for their sons Trey, Terrell and Tremaine growing up.
The rules of the house were pretty simple. Especially the first two: finish everything and try your best to win.
Easy to remember if not always easy to live by, particularly if you happened to be the brother on the losing end of a game of say, Madden. Or didn’t clean your plate first. Or came in second (or, even worse, third) in any of the daily competitions between the three.
“Our parents didn’t raise us soft,” Terrell Edmunds said.
Hard to argue with the results, not with all three playing in the NFL. Terrell is a rookie safety for the Pittsburgh Steelers.
On Sunday, he’ll be in Oakland alongside older brother Trey, a second-year running back promoted to the active roster this week following a left ankle injury to starter James Conner.
They’ll kick off against the Raiders shortly after youngest brother Tremaine and the Buffalo Bills finish up their game with the New York Jets.
Not bad for three kids from southern Virginia separated in age by 3½ years (Trey is 23, Terrell is 21 and Tremaine is 20) and not much else.
Terrell and Tremaine made NFL history in the spring when they were the first pair of brothers taken in the opening round of the draft, following in the footsteps of Trey — who spent 2017 with New Orleans — and Ferrell, a two-time Pro Bowl tight end while playing for Miami and Seattle in the late 1980s and early 1990s.
Yet ask Trey who the best athlete was growing up, and his response is surprisingly diplomatic.
“We all were the guy at different points,” he said. “We all were the guy.”
He’s not kidding. Trey ran for nearly 2,600 yards during his senior year at Dan River High School in 2012, when he would take the handoff from Terrell, who played quarterback.
The following fall with Trey now a freshman at Virginia Tech, Terrell ran for more than 1,700 yards himself. Tremaine —at 6-foot-5 and now 205 pounds the biggest of the three — followed as a dynamic two-way player who was just as comfortable tackling guys as he was running them over.
All three brothers played together at Virginia Tech in 2015 when life got in the way. Trey, his role diminished, transferred to Maryland. He went undrafted but signed with New Orleans, where he ran for 48 yards on nine carries after the Saints tried to turn him into a fullback/tight end. It didn’t quite take. New Orleans cut him in September. The Steelers signed him to the practice squad the next day.
Trey admitted he was just looking for a job after the Saints released him. The fact the Steelers were the first one to reach out was merely a happy coincidence. He didn’t have to worry about trying to fit in or finding a place to live. Having his brother on the roster took care of both.
It also, however, threatened to change the dynamic between the two. Terrell is a rapidly maturing starter who got the first sack of his career last week when he chased down Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers. Tremaine arrived simply trying to keep his career alive.
He’s impressed coach Mike Tomlin with his enthusiastic embrace of special teams play — where he will likely see action against the Raiders — and his brother’s encouragement has helped him navigate the sometimes tricky life of a practice squad player.
“He never made it uncomfortable for me,” Trey said. “He never made it seem weird or anything like that. I couldn’t ask for anything better.”
One of the reasons no one at Heinz Field might have roared louder when Terrell raced in on the blitz and overwhelmed Rivers.
“Prime-time football, doing it to a prime-time player,” Trey said. “I couldn’t have been more excited. Before you know it, I’m going to see his name on Pro Bowl ballots.”
Yet it says something about the lessons instilled by his parents long ago that Terrell shrugs at the memory. Yeah, it was a cool moment, but one that came in a game the Steelers (7-4-1) lost on a last-second field goal.
“I’m not a loser and I don’t want to be labeled as a loser,” Terrell said. “I just want to go out there and help the team the best way I can and try to stack wins.”
Trey will officially join the fight on Sunday afternoon as their journey comes full circle, one in which they won’t be competing against each other, but for each other.
“It’s something special and we don’t take it for granted,” Trey said. “We’re both in this for the same thing: to make a playoff run.”
NOTES: Conner, LB Anthony Chickillo (ankle), RT Marcus Gilbert (knee) and LG Ramon Foster (coach’s decision) did not practice on Thursday. … WR Ryan Switzer (concussion), S Morgan Burnett (back) and long snapper Kameron Canaday (knee) were full participants.
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