NAPA -- Despite being pummeled and pounded with the Buffalo Bills, Trent Edwards never gave a second thought to all the punishment his body took.
The bigger concern for the Raiders' newest quarterback, in light of concussions in 2008 and 2009, was being of sound mind.
"I love football, don't get me wrong, but if I can't function properly after it's over, it's going to be devastating," Edwards said. "I don't want to put everything on the line and then not be able to walk straight."
Not one to feel sorry for himself, Edwards won't blame the concussions or supporting cast for his career going off track in Buffalo or during his time at Stanford from 2003-06.
He blends an old-school, no-excuses mentality with a modern approach for dealing with the head injuries that have long been part of the NFL and are only in recent years being taken seriously for their long-term effects.
While Edwards worked out as he has since his days at Los Gatos High to prepare himself for the opportunity that arose with the Raiders, he also was training his brain.
During the offseason, Edwards took part in 25 sessions at Neurotopia, a Southern California-based company specializing in "performance brain training," according to its website.
"The way they see it, if you do receive hits and go through head trauma, there are certain neural pathways that are shut down, and to get those back up and running, and even create new neural pathways, is to go
So Edwards was hooked up to a monitor and put through a variety of mental exercises, 45 minutes at a time. He reports no lingering symptoms from the concussions and has set his mind to mastering the Raiders offense as he competes with Kyle Boller to back up starter Jason Campbell.
Receiving the most playing time of the quarterbacks in Thursday's 24-18 loss to Arizona, Edwards was 10 of 19 for 140 yards and one touchdown, a perfectly thrown 18-yard corner route to rookie tight end David Ausberry.
"I'm giving him information, and I can see his eyes going, 'OK, let me figure this play out,' " coach Hue Jackson said.
Edwards concedes he is thinking about defensive coverages in conjunction with the offense instead of instantly knowing them but said, "I'm doing less and less of that. It's getting there. I'm trying to get to a place where I can just play football, and it's coming."
One of the top high school quarterbacks in the country at Los Gatos, Edwards committed to Stanford. But during Edwards' stint, the Cardinal struggled to find success under the regimes of Buddy Teevens and Walt Harris.
Edwards ended his senior year on the sideline with a broken foot as Stanford went 1-11.
Still, Edwards' skills were such that he came recommended by the late Bill Walsh, and Buffalo drafted him in the third round in 2007. He had a promising start there before becoming tentative and indecisive amid the flurry of sacks and body blows.
The Bills benched Edwards in favor of Ryan Fitzpatrick early last season before waiving him a week later. He resurfaced as a reserve in Jacksonville, making one start in place of an injured David Garrard before being sidelined by a thumb injury.
"I'm not the type of person to sit here and think, 'Oh, man, I wish I would have gone to USC and won a national championship,' or 'I wish I had played a couple of years at New England and sat behind Tom Brady,' " Edwards said. "Things happen in everybody's life. All you can do is think things out, make the best decision you can at the time, and go with it."
Jackson said he sees no signs of Edwards being gun-shy or afflicted by the hits he took at Stanford and with the Bills.
Ted Tollner, the former Raiders passing game coordinator who worked with Edwards before the NFL scouting combine and again before he signed on July 30, sees the same set of physical skills.
"I know his career hasn't unfolded as he would have liked, but he can still do everything -- he's got all the different drops and movement, can make every throw," Tollner said. "What I like about him is he's not a guy who's going to blame others. You learn and get better from it.
"I felt that way about Jason (Campbell) last year. All he wanted was another opportunity to make a go of it."