“FENWAY'S BEST PLAYERS”
In the 1930s, pro football was a small world compared with today’s game – on and off the field. Turk Edwards was literally a large reflection of that. Turk, a 6-foot-2, 265-pound tackle, was gigantic for his day. Called the "Rock of Gibraltar" and the "bouncing boulder," among other nicknames, he played eight seasons (1932 to 1939) for the Boston Redskins and Washington Redskins franchise. He was one of the fastest men in pro football, despite his exceptional tonnage. He used to spill many of the league’s fastest halfbacks after they had outdistanced all others.
Edwards was a tremendous blocker and tackler at a time when players often stayed on the field for 60 minutes. He toyed with opponents using overwhelming strength and power, yet he had the speed to chase down ball-carriers. He claimed All-NFL honors in 1932, 1933, 1936 and 1937, and was instrumental on the 1937 Washington Redskins team that became NFL champions in its first season in the nation’s capital.
Albert Glen Edwards was born in Mold, Wash., in 1907. He played football at Washington State University, becoming an All-American tackle as a junior. That season the Cougars had an unbeaten season and gained a trip to the 1931 Rose Bowl.
Turk received offers in 1932 to play for the New York Giants, Portsmouth (N.H.) Spartans and Boston Braves. He chose the Braves, who submitted the highest offer of $1,500 for a 10-game season. From Washington state, he even drove a busload of players to Boston for tryouts with the Braves. One of eight NFL teams, the Braves were kicking off their inaugural season. Turk proved to be one of their prized catches and established himself as a dominant force on offense and defense.
Turk was a fixture on the front line, playing 710 of a possible 720 minutes. But the Redskins struggled as a team, finishing 5-5-2 in 1933, 6-6 in 1934 and 2-8-1 in 1935. They crafted a 7-5 record in 1936, which was good enough for an Eastern Division title and appearance in the NFL championship game.
In 1937, their maiden season in the nation’s capital, the Redskins finished 8-3 and captured the NFL title with a 28-21 victory over the Chicago Bears. Turk was one of four future Hall of Famers on the Redskins, joining Cliff Battles, end Wayne Millner and a rookie halfback with a rifle passing arm, "Slingin" Sammy Baugh.
By the 1940 season, Turk was only one of two remaining players from the 1932 Braves. He was named to replace Roy Baker as the team’s chief assistant to coach Ray Flaherty and would also continue as a player on the Redskins reserve list.
During the coin toss before the second game against the New York Giants, after shaking hands following the coin toss, he whirled to trot toward the Redskins bench. But his spikes got stuck in the turf, and his often-injured knee gave way. The seemingly indestructible man never played another down in the NFL.
Turk didn’t relinquish his ties to the burgundy and gold. He served as a full-time assistant from 1940 to 1945, when the Redskins were one of the NFL’s elite teams. They reached four league championship games and won once in 1942.
When he retired he operated a sporting goods store in Seattle's University district. In 1961, he moved to Kelso, Washington and spent 11 years working in the assessor's office for Cowlitz County.
In 1969, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, which noted that he "played with such immovable and impregnable tendencies and, thus, became the best of his era."
After a ling illness, Turk Edwards passed away at his home, on January 12, 1973, in Kirkland, Washington at age 65.