BILLINGS — They look like they could still play.

Dwan Edwards, Chase Reynolds and Dane Fletcher still carry themselves with the easy gait of an athlete. Making a tackle or catching a football seems well within their realm of possibilities.

But it's been there, done that for the three Montana-born National Football League players.

Edwards spent 12 years in the NFL playing defensive tackle for Baltimore, Buffalo and Carolina.

Reynolds had six years in the league, all with the St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams, while Fletcher also played six seasons with the New England Patriots and Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Reynolds was a running back, playing mostly special teams, while Fletcher was a linebacker.

Both Edwards (XL) and Fletcher (XLVI) played in the Super Bowl.

The three, all fathers now, are into a different chapter of their lives. Edwards has five children, Reynolds three and Fletcher two.

Edwards, formerly of Columbus, and his family have settled in Charlotte, North Carolina. Reynolds (Drummond) now lives in Missoula and Fletcher returned home to Bozeman.

They were in Billings last week as guest instructors for the Yellowstone Youth Football League at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark. They were joined by former NFL players Austin Collie and Daniel Graham.

Friendly and funny and laughing often, they mingled easily with the young players and adults. A few kids approached for autographs, which the former players happily obliged.

And their ferocious competitiveness still bubbles under the surface.

“They have footballs,” said Fletcher, nodding his head toward Reynolds and Edwards with a smile before the camp officially started. “All I’ve got is the tackling dummies. I’m still going to make this the best drill station.”

The three took a few minutes from their busy evening to answer a few questions from 406mtsports.com:

How do you fill your days?

Reynolds: I work in real estate and coach my son’s baseball team. Just chasing my kids around.

Fletcher: I show up around 4:30 a.m. at The Pitt (a training facility he owns in Bozeman) and taking care of my eight-month old twin boys.

Edwards: I get my kids ready for school, have a healthy breakfast and then drive around Charlotte to find a basketball game. I’d play five, six days a week if my wife would let me.

What do miss most about playing?

Reynolds: Just the competitiveness. Waking up every day and trying to be the best you can be. That competitiveness, you don’t get that in the real world.

Fletcher: I miss the locker room. It was a place where you would share laughs. You’re all going through the same things.

Edwards: I miss just being part of something bigger than yourself, helping the team accomplish something. Working hard so the team can be better. And I miss the night before game day, being in the hotel room, just my thoughts and the TV. Hey, I’ve got five kids (laughs).

What you miss least about playing?

Reynolds: I don’t miss the daily struggles. Working to keep your job. Doing battle every day to stay on the roster.

Fletcher: (New England head coach Bill) Belichick’s “Low Lights,” on Monday mornings, bringing those sweaty palm feelings where nothing is safe. You miss the games. The practices, not so much.

Edwards: I don't miss the practices. I don't miss getting myself ready for the shape I know I have to be in, and you have to be in a ridiculous amount of shape. 

With no contract at stake, what is your favorite NFL team?

Reynolds: I don’t have a favorite team. I did like the 49ers but fell away from being a fan. I still know a lot of guys with the Rams, so I’m always going to be following them.

Fletcher: I’ve still got a lot of friends on the Patriots. I just try to keep up with my buddies.

Edwards: I do root for the Panthers. And the Ravens and the Bills. I know guys on every single team. I root more for players than teams.

Up or down, how far are you from your playing weight?

Reynolds: I’m down about 10 pounds.

Fletcher: About 30 pounds lower.

Edwards. I’m down 45 pounds. I’m a basketball junkie now.

What are your long-range plans?

Reynolds: I’m starting to look into development for real estate. That’s next, get into the development side of things. And I might give politics another try (Reynolds ran for a seat in the Montana Senate last year but lost).

Fletcher: We’re expanding our business, that’s taking up all of my time.

Edwards: First, make sure all my children become productive citizens. A lot of players with Charlotte have foundations and I volunteer with those. The NFL has so many programs — coaching, financial — I might look into that. Or even maybe get into acting. I’ll find something down the road.

Email Joe Kusek at joe.kusek@406mtsports.com or follow him on Twitter at @GazSportsJoe

Sports writer at the Billings Gazette

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