EDEN PRAIRIE, Minn. (AP) -One day after returning to the Minnesota Vikings from a four-week suspension for violating the NFL's steroid policy, defensive end Ray Edwards said he ``made a mistake.''
Edwards' error was in not checking to see if a workout supplement was on the league's banned list.
``I should've gotten things looked at before I took it,'' Edwards said Wednesday in his first public comments since being suspended. ``You live and you learn. It was a very tough learning experience.''
Edwards, the second-year player out of Purdue, started 11 of the team's first 12 games before beginning the suspension on Dec. 5. He said the positive test came back in April from a supplement he took while working out in Arizona in the offseason.
``It's something I should've called (the league) on it,'' Edwards said. ``It's a mistake I made.''
The loss was a tough blow to the Vikings defensive line. Edwards led the team in sacks at the time of his suspension and was one of the most consistent ends on the team. He had five sacks, 41 tackles and also scored a touchdown on a fumble return in Week 2 against Detroit.
``You always want to make improvements throughout your whole career,'' Edwards said of his steady play throughout the first three months of the season. ``I felt I was definitely coming along, so I went away and worked on some things I felt would help me even more next year.''
Through it all, Edwards remained in contact with defensive teammates Pat and Kevin Williams, Dwight Smith and Ronyell Whitaker.
Edwards knew the suspension was coming several weeks before he left the team, and he was hoping he would return for a playoff run. But the Vikings (8-8) lost their final two games and were eliminated from the playoff race.
Per league policy, coach Brad Childress could not contact Edwards during the suspension. The coach expressed disappointment at the time, but was unavailable for comment Wednesday.
Edwards spoke to his coaches when he returned to the team Tuesday.
``They just said, 'You know what, just learn from it, grow from it and don't make the same mistake twice,''' Edwards said.
Since he's been away, Edwards said he has started working with boxing trainers at a local gym in hopes of improving his quickness, stamina and agility. He plans to continue those workouts through the offseason in hopes of returning stronger and quicker. But he said he's not quite ready for a matchup with Floyd Mayweather Jr., widely regarded as the best pound-for-pound boxer in the world.
``He's too fast for me,'' Edwards joked with a smile. ``Maybe in a couple years, I'll give him a shot.''
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