By Stephen Tsai
After being hired as head coach, Norm Chow met with Mike Edwards in a closed-door meeting.
Edwards had undergone shoulder surgery that would prevent him from contact drills until the summer. Still, Chow detailed the blueprint for the program and asked Edwards to be a construction leader. It was a risky proposal. Edwards had transferred to UH in July 2011 in search of a fresh start. He spent most of the 2011 season focusing on football, academics and absorbing Richard Torres' tutorial sessions.
According to the coaches, Edwards became fully invested in the leadership role. That meant encouraging teammates during contact drills in the spring. That meant representing the Warriors at the Mountain West media preview. That also meant sacrificing his beloved jersey No. 2. He was given No. 1, the leadership's jersey.
Chow did his best to showcase Edwards' talents, even if it meant the attention — and success — would hasten his UH departure. Edwards was named the No. 1 kickoff returner. There also were plays designed for him on offense. Early in the season, Chow named Edwards as a co-captain.
Chow and Edwards both used the phrase "great friendship" to describe their relationship.
Today, Edwards is signing the papers to apply for the 2013 NFL draft.
"I'm thankful for my time in Hawaii," Edwards said.
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It appears Ne'Quan Phillips is ready to step into a leadership role.
His nickname is "Mr. Honolulu."