In This Column An Ohioan Criticizes Braylon Edwards

Jeffrey SchwartzCorrespondent IAugust 11, 2010

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 18:  Former Michigan Wolverines player Braylon Edwards watches their game against the Ohio State Buckeyes on November 18, 2006 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.  Ohio State won 42-39.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
Gregory Shamus/Getty Images


          When I was born, much to the chagrin of my mother and her side of the family, my Uncle Bill gave me a doll of a Michigan football player.  My Uncle Bill has a degree from the University of Michigan, and for my entire childhood I rooted for the Maze and Blue.  When John Cooper was fired by The Ohio State University, I switched allegiances to the home team because I no longer had a hatred for my state university's Head Coach.  Jim Tressel was from Ohio, he was a championship coach at Youngstown State.  The "Sweater Vest" helped me to back to the home team, and I've never looked back.  

          Over the course of my time as a Buckeye fan, there were many players from "that school up North" that I did not like.  Braylon Edwards was one of them; in fact Edwards led the way.  During the 2005 NFL draft build up, the majority of the Cleveland media promoted the idea of drafting Braylon Edwards.  It was a good idea at the time because Edwards was the best Wide Receiver in the draft and the Browns needed a #1.  BAD IDEA.  From the day Edwards was taken with the third pick in the draft, failure was written all over him in maze and gold writing.  Edwards had the habit of dropping balls in big games during college.  As a rookie he continued that trend in the professional ranks.

          Braylon Edwards mouth also wrote checks he could not afford to cash off the field.  He continued to complain that the fine people of Cleveland were out to get him because he was a "Michigan Man."  As a lifelong Browns fan, there is no way your college matters if you wear the Orange and Brown proudly.  Had Edwards kept his helmet on, and held on to the footballs being thrown to him, nobody would have said word one to him about being disliked.  Often Coach Romeo Crennel would have to tell Edwards to take his practices seriously.  

          Before I go further with the negativity towards Braylon Edwards, I'd like to note he donated 1 Million dollars to the Cleveland Public Schools.  That was a classy move and a move where Edwards was lauded as a great member of the community.  Edwards didn't lament about the Ohio State/Michigan rivalry when he made a positive move.

          The 2007 season arrived and Edwards broke out.  The words Michigan and drops did not exist to Cleveland media or fans during this season.  Not once was there an issue with Edwards when the team was winning.  The Cleveland Browns went 10-6 that season, missing out on the playoffs by one game.  Edwards caught sixteen touchdowns, and gained 1,289 receiving yards, both team records.  Nobody anywhere cared about his college days.  

          During the 2008 season, Edwards led the league in drops with sixteen.  I'll repeat that, he led the league in drops with SIXTEEN.  He caught that many touchdowns the season before.  The Browns finished 4-12 and guess what returned?  If you guessed Braylon Edwards complaining about fans not liking him for being a Michigan alum, pat yourself on the back, you're correct.  Edwards was a nightmare to watch on the field.  He played like did not care and could not wait to end the season.  Truly, Braylon Edwards has as much heart as the Cowardly Lion from the Wizard of Oz.

          2009 was a great year for Edwards; he was traded from Cleveland to New York.  Edwards was finally in a city, where he wouldn't be criticized.  Keep in mind that trade occurred two days after he punched a friend of LeBron James in the face outside of a nightclub, so Edwards was booted from Cleveland all the while the fans and media insulted him.  That actually was not the case, but in Edwards mind, I'm sure he had delusions of grandeur.  The New York Jets made the playoffs and Edwards caught 4 passes for 56 yards during the first two playoff games.  The complaints and negativity came fast and furious toward Edwards from the New York media and fans.  Edwards went out and caught 2 passes for 100 yards and a touchdown the following week in a loss to the Colts.  

          Last week, Braylon Edwards opened his mouth once again for another completely irrelevant and delusional commentary.  

“There’s nothing going on in Cleveland. There’s no real estate. There’s no social life, no social networking. All the people who have something going on leave Cleveland. So Cleveland has nothing, and I came in there with a New York-type of essence. So what? That was the attitude I came in with. Like, this is who I am. They didn’t like the flash.” 

          What?  Yes, Cleveland's economy is struggling mightily, and thanks to the Braylon Edwards-esque class of LeBron James we're even worse off.  But to say there's no social networking or social life is quite preposterous.  West Sixth Street is an amazing place to spend night.  Plenty of bars, and strip clubs nearby.  Certainly more than enough places for Edwards to spend his evenings getting plastered, just like when he played here.  

          I also love the "New York essence," comment.  I've got a really close friend who has a New York essence.  He's got the thick Brooklyn accent, the swagger, and the game to back it up.  Braylon Edwards has none of that.  He's got a University of Michigan, Rich Rodriguez type essence.  The essence of a loser who is in over his head.  Joshua Cribbs has flash, we love him.  LeBron James had flash, we loved him.  We don't love quitters, whiners, and people who don't act like the blue collar people that live in Cleveland.  Edwards is not a winner, he won't ever be one unless he gravy trains a championship this year in New York.  After this miserable individual season for Edwards I look forward to seeing him grovel at teams during free agency.  I hear the Lions have an opening for a second Wide Receiver.  That should be just close enough to Ann Arbor for Edwards to maintain his "essence."