Former NFL player on stand in Afghan massacre case

A former NFL player took the witness stand in the sentencing of

the U.S. soldier who massacred 16 Afghan villagers last year.

Marc Edwards was a high school football teammate of Staff Sgt.

Robert Bales in Norwood, Ohio, who went on to play in the NFL. He

testified Thursday wearing the Super Bowl ring he won in 2002 with

the New England Patriots.

Bales pleaded guilty in June in a deal to avoid the death

penalty, acknowledging that he slaughtered 16 people, mostly women

and children, during unsanctioned, solo, pre-dawn raids on two

villages March 11, 2012. A jury is deciding whether he should be

sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole, or

without it.

Edwards called Bales an ”unbelievable leader” on the high

school squad who was magnanimous when Edwards took his position on

the team.