Ray Edwards will step into the boxing ring

Tommy Zbikowski, meet Ray Edwards.

There is another NFL player entering the ring. Edwards, the Minnesota Vikings defensive end, signed a contract Tuesday to have two professional fights. Edwards will debut May 20 in a four-round main event at Grand Casino Hinckley against an opponent that has yet to be determined, according to Mark Craig of the Minneapolis Star Tribune.

"It's something I've always wanted to do in my life," Edwards told Craig in between training sessions. "I can't put my eggs all in one basket, waiting for the NFL to settle the lockout. You never know when this lockout is going to end."

Per the report, Edwards is guaranteed $5,000 for the first fight plus 50 percent of the gate proceeds. If the NFL’s lockout carries into June, he’ll fight at the casino again that month under the same terms. It’s not pocket change but it’s also not what NFL players are accustomed to pulling down.

Edwards has been using boxing in some of his football training for several years. He’s 6-5, 255 pounds right now, 13 pounds below his playing weight. He is expected to be an unrestricted free agent provided a new collective bargaining agreement comes through. If that’s the case, it’s unlikely he will return to the Vikings.

Zbikowski, the Baltimore Ravens safety who dabbled in boxing in high school and at Notre Dame, won two professional bouts last month. He’s scheduled to fight again April 23 at WinStar Casino in Thackerville, Okla.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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