It has really not been a good six months for Braylon Edwards and the Cleveland Browns. Expectations were sky-high for the fourth-year receiver after he posted some insane numbers in 2007: 1289 yards on 80 catches and 16 scores, all (obviously) career highs. Further, Cleveland went 10-6, barely missing the AFC playoffs, and it looked like their offense was set for years to come.
Yes, well, not so much. About the only thing Edwards caught this season was a severe case of the dropsies, Derek Anderson struggled mightily under center when he wasn’t getting benched or injured, and the Browns are a lowly 4-10. Clearly, clearly, not what they had in mind. Edwards has managed all of three touchdowns this season, his catches are way down (5 per game in 2007, 3 and a half in 2008), and worst of all, he has engendered some serious hatred from Cleveland fans–so much so that he’s taking his ball and going home. Did I say ball? I mean community service and charity:
“I’m not Paul Warfield, Webster Slaughter or Jim Brown. I’ve given my all to this city for four years, and I realize it will never be enough. I went to the Pro Bowl last year and resurrected this team from the darkness, and nobody cared.”
“People in this town believe they are entitled to too much. They have been disrespectful to me and my family. I’ve gone out in public with my family and have had to deal with being called foul names. My parents have been called vulgar things at restaurants.”
First of all, if Braylon’s making any part of that up, he should be thrown into a volcano or Scrooge McDuck’s Money Bin if all the money was taken out and replaced with scorpions. If it’s true, however, the same fate for anyone immature and meatheaded enough to go after a player’s family. But Edwards’ response to the ridiculous behavior by “fans” was weird at best (emphasis ours):
“My biggest problem is that I actually give a damn. I’m always rushing back from surgeries and injuries, never missing games or practices. But through this, I’ve learned how to overcome adversity. I’m also proud of how my foundation has taken off. I’ve been doing all this community service in Cleveland … my charity efforts will only be in Detroit from now on.”
Take that, Browns fans! You’ve booed all the money away from the poor people–wait, what? It’s one thing for Edwards to acknowledge that he won’t be back next season and shift (or better yet, expand) his foundation’s efforts after he signs a new contract. To reel them out, then cut the string out of spite (holy, righteous spite at that) seems like the exact wrong people are being punished here.
Now with that said, there is no way on Earth that Braylon plays a snap for the Browns after this season–hell, he may just pull a Richie Tenenbaum and sit on the field until the game is over. Wait, Richie tries to kill himself later. Okay, let’s limit the analogy to sports. Good. But the stars do seem aligned for Edwards to go to Detroit, right? His foundation’s already active there, he’s a Michigan man, and if there’s one franchise that just can’t get enough of high-priced, ineffective WRs, it’s the Lions! It’s just too bad Matt Millen won’t be around to see it through. He would have wanted it this way.