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From Finland’s Seinjoki crocodiles to fan-controlled Football League madness




Photo: OM Matihalti

Marshawn Lynch, Johnny Manziel, and Quavo were all big names who helped lead the Fan-controlled football league to its success this spring.

For defensive tackles Yes Micheal Edwards-Lott, it was a season in Finland that opened the door.

It was definitely a blessing, especially now that no one is playing football. A lot of the guys in this League were in the NFL before or just slipped through the cracks and didn’t get a chance. That’s what this competition was for them to get film. So when I got this chance you know like I was like me, get in there and do everything I can to give myself the best chance to move forward.

Edwards-Lott was an important member of the Disable Squad a defensive unit that moved from team to team on a weekly basis in the new dynamic league. As a member of either of the two defensive units, Saturday’s defensive tackle would play two games in one night as the Disable Squad defense rotated from team to team.

I played for every team in the FCF. For the fans, there would be a double header. There would be a game at about 7 or 8 and then there would be a game at about eight or nine. But for us we play the game, then we go into the locker room and change uniforms and then they come right back out. “

The FCF alleviated this problem by keeping the defense depth strong for the units, allowing the defense to rotate often to keep players fresh.

We would like to have two or three deep in the defense line. So it wasn’t like you started every game, so as friends you could start the first game in the second game with your back or vice versa.

Living within the FCF bubble meant a first quarantine and long nights in a hotel room. The competition helped keep players engaged by giving them insight into business tycoons and related celebrities such as Quavo, Marshawn Lynch, Richard Sherman, and many others. After training together on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, the players would split up on Wednesday after being called up to different squads. This was one of the many unique selling points of the startup competition. On the design night, fans had a bet that team players were suitable for. The competition encouraged WWE style entries for draft night players, and even order costumes for more buzz. After two players Joe Tito and James Lee, wore gowns on a draft night, the entry process exploded!

The following week, one of the FCF executives ordered a bunch of costume supplies from Party City! We just went there and we started picking up things and planning. People thought we were off the rails, but we were just trying to enjoy ourselves, you know, being in the bubble was crazy.

Before you star in Cramps most popular football league, the big man out Texas had played Grambling State after an impressive high school career for the Foster Falcons. After an injury at Grambling State, the athletic nose guard transferred to Nicholls State in Louisiana. As a member of the Colonels, Edwards-Lott had a breakout junior season with 20 tackles and one tackle for a loss. The following year, a new coaching staff and an influx of junior college transfers sent the starter to the bank. The FCF star looks back on his disappointing senior season:

It’s cool everything, I missed at that point God is bringing back so I think the FCF was kind of my last chance you.

JaMicheal Edwards-Lott # 98 and teammates wave at a drone during the game

After training with the Houston Texans and no other starting points for a professional career, Edwards-Lott football found in Europe while scrolling on Instagram. His former teammate joined Grambling State. Troy Roach, placed himself playing for the Porvoo Butchers from Finnish Maple League. Shortly afterwards, the Nicholls State product followed Roach footsteps and signed with the Seinajoki Crocodiles, also in Finland. The first time they were imported, they recorded 29 tackles and 7 tackles for a loss during the Maple League 2018 season. The only season in it Finland was a unique experience for the southerner:

I loved my time in Finland! It is a great place and there are many beautiful nature spots. At first, Finns can be quite aloof, but after getting to know you, they are really good people and quite funny too.

After you join American Patriot League in 2019, a league that ultimately failed without a season, Edwards-Lott spent the next year with pandemic-related cancellations in Europe and unsuspecting arena league offers. The run-stuffer finally found it FCF through a connection with former Calgary Stampeders trainer Kahlil Carter who, along with FCF head coach John Jenkins, convinced him to try out for the upstart.

Coach Jenkins, the FCF head coach, called me and said we have the last tryout for FCF coach Carter is impressed with you and we want you in practice.

After considering a return to Europe football or the start of a new journey in the Fan-controlled football league, the former Seinjoki Crocodile decided to go all-in on the new innovative competition. His decision was validated when former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel signed with the upstart shortly afterwards.

Literally the day after I drew Johnny Manziel. I saw their Instagram followers go from 6,000 to 12,000 overnight. I knew this thing was going to be real!

The Fan-controlled competition gave Edwards-Lott a great opportunity to give herself more film and keep his NFL dream alive:

The main goal is to get to the NFL or Canada, I think both are fine. It’s really all God has in store for me, but I’ll let you determine my steps, but I wanted the NFL.

The well-traveled 26-year-old is excited about his football future and to continue to pursue his professional football dreams wherever they take him.

Watch the highlights of JaMicheal Edwards-Lotts FCF here:

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