In a new start-up league known for signing former college football stars like Johnny Manziel and Quinton Flowers, fans voting on team acquisitions, and Twitch subscribers. The little-known 6’3 310 lb nose tackle Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott made a name for himself as one of the fiercest lineman in the entertaining new league.
“It was definitely a blessing, especially right now there’s nobody playing football. A lot of the guys in this League either were in the NFL before or just slipped through the cracks and didn’t get a opportunity.”
Edwards-Lott was a member of the “Shutdown Squad” a defensive unit that moved from team to team weekly in the new league that featured a ton of player movement. As a non-franchised tagged defender the big man would play two games in one night as the “Shutdown Squad” defense rotated from team to team.
“I played for every team in the FCF. To the fans there would be a doubleheader. There would be a game at like 7 or 8 and then there would be game at like eight or nine. But for us we play the game then we go in the locker room and switch uniforms and they would come right back out.
Life inside the in the FCF Bubble meant an initial quarantine and long nights stuck inside. The league helped keep players busy by providing them with insight from business moguls and associated celebrities such as Quavo, Marshawn lynch, Richard Sherman, and others. After practicing together Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, the players would be split up on Wednesday after they were drafted to different squads.
This was one of the many unique selling points of the start-up league. On draft night, fans had a stake in which team their players suited up for. The league encouraged WWE style entrances for players on draft night, even ordering costumes for more flair.
“One of the executives for FCF ordered a whole bunch of costume stuff from Party City! We just went over there and we started picking up stuff and planning. People were thinking we were going off the rails, but we were just trying to entertain ourselves you know, being in the bubble was crazy.”
Before staring on Twitch’s most popular football draft night, the big man from Texas signed with Grambling State after an impressive high school career for the Foster Falcons. Following 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 a tackle for a loss. The next year, a new coaching staff and an influx of junior college transfers sent the starter to the bench. The FCF star reflects on his disappointing senior season:
“Its cool everything, I missed out on at that time God is bringing back from so I guess the FCF was kind of like my last chance U.”
After a workout with the Houston Texans and no other leads on a professional career. Edwards-Lott found his next football team while scrolling on Instagram. His former teammate at Grambling State, linebacker Troy Roach posted himself playing for the Porvoo Butchers of Finland.
After talking with some teams, the Nicholls State product followed Roach’s footsteps and signed with the Seinajoki Crocodiles also in Finland. The first-time import recorded 29 tackles and 7 tackles for a loss during the 2018 Finnish season. The lone season in Finland was a eye opening experience for the southerner:
“I loved my time in Finland! It’s a great place and it has a lot of beautiful nature spots. At first, Finns can be kind of standoffish, but after they get to know you they are very good people, and pretty funny as well.”
After joining the American Patriot League football in 2019, a league that eventually folded without a season, Edwards-Lott spent the following year dealing with Pandemic related cancellations of European leagues and unenticing arena league offers. The strong run-stuffer finally found the FCF through a connection with former Calgary Stampeders coach Kahlil Carter who along with FCF head coach John Jenkins convinced him to try-out for the upstart league.
“Coach Jenkins the head coach from the FCF called me and said we are having the last try-out for the FCF coach carter is impressed with you and we want you at the workout.”
the former Seinajoki Crocodile decided to go all in on the strange new adventure. His decision was validated as former Heisman trophy winner Johnny Manziel signed with the upstart league shortly after.
“Literally the day after I signed Johnny Manziel signed. I saw their Instagram following go from six thousand to twelve thousand overnight. I knew this thing was going to be real!
The well-travelled 26-year-old is excited for his football future and to continue chasing his pro football dreams!
Watch Ja’Michael Edwards-Lott’s FCF Highlights here:
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