Wire: Sorry, I Just Don't Care

Here, under the thin guise of recapping the newswire, Barry opines on Braylon Edwards' holdout...

As Tuesday dawns with the promise of another sunny Cleveland day, we find ourselves grappling once more with a Daily Newswire packed to the brim with Cleveland Browns Training Camp news.

The newswire always has lots of links during the early days of training camp. Hard-core fans (yeah, that's us) are starved for football information, so the local press meets that need with a number of stories. In addition, training camp is relatively open to the press and there is enough information and player availability for scribes to pursue different stories.

Another reason for the healthy dose of football news, I suspect, is that there are a couple of stories which practically write themselves.

One of those stories is the continuing holdout of Braylon Edwards, the Browns rookie wide receiver and the third pick in the draft. Holdouts by the top pick are an annual rite in nearly every NFL city, and this year is no exception.

While pressure from teammates and coaches hasn't been as overt as Jeff Garcia's public plea with Kellen Winslow to show up to camp last year, there's enough concern to suggest that the team would really like to see Edwards in camp. If the team didn't express that concern, well, that would be newsworthy as well. It's a no-lose proposition for the media as long as Berea remains an Edwards-free zone.

All of this doesn't mean that there isn't some terrific reporting going on. Both Mary Kay Cabot and Pat McManamon have excellent stories on the situation today, with the Plain Dealer writer focusing on recent developments such as Edwards relocating to New Orleans to continue his workouts. The Beacon-Journal's McManamon offers some good analysis on the reasons behind the continuing holdout.

Well, that's great for the newswire page, but the thing that's really bugging me is the lackadaisical attitude over here at Scout.com.

Given our pathology at Bernie's Insiders, i.e., an almost-worrisome obsession with anything Browns and a tendency to slam in updates like overcaffeinated monkeys, it's almost-noteworthy that our readers haven't been victimized by a constant set of increasingly frantic headlines about Braylon Edwards lack of a contract.

You may have noticed this apparent lack of concern as well. Then again, you probably haven't because you have more important things to worry about.

I, however, don't have more important things to worry about, have been worried about our lack of franticness.

Fortunately, I've engaged in a lot of relentless navel-gazing introspection while standing around bored waiting for Romeo Crennel to talk to the press.

Granted, it may appear to onlookers that I'm simply standing around, looking dully stupid with my mouth hanging open and wearing a much-abused Cleveland Cavs cap. I am actually, however, engaged in very deep thought. Da Vinci, Kant, and Aristotle can only look down from their respective heavens with ghostly jealousy and wonder at the deepness of my thoughts. Yep.

This self-reflection has resulted in the conclusion that there are two fundamental reasons why BerniesInsiders.com has not become the Braylon Edwards Watch of late. These are as follows:

  1. That this website is tragically almost 100% dependent on a rapidly-aging nerd (namely, me) to publish updates and assign titles to stories, and,
  2. I don't care.

This stunning realization of my own apathy, of course, resulted in another massive bout of self-reflection. So, I spent some more time standing around looking dorky.

This effort has resulted in a clear delineation of the reasons behind my laissez faire approach to the story. Here, in another handy list, are the reasons I've decided that I'm not too fired up about Braylon Edwards holdout:

  1. Edwards doesn't make a lot of difference to the team's ultimate fate in 2005. Despite Mr. Edwards' undeniable skills, the Browns won-loss record in 2005 probably won't swing greatly based on his presence during the first week or two of training camp. The team has three very solid receivers and some interesting prospects who might show more if given an opportunity. If Braylon Edwards was an outside pass rusher or a mammoth nose tackle, well, then I could justify more agitation on his behalf. He's not, so I can't.
  2. Edwards and the Browns could get the deal done, of course, but realistically the team and Edwards are being held hostage by Ronnie Brown and Nick Saban. Right now, it's hard to tell what a good price for Edwards would be, primarily because Ronnie Brown in Miami hasn't signed his contract to set an upper ceiling. We're waiting for two dominos to fall, and so far only one of them has fallen. Again, refer to Pat McManamon's piece for more analysis on the contributing factors.
  3. While we admittedly have a number of writers and subscribers from that state up north, and while I have a tragic family tree which includes graduates of an institution of higher learning located in Ann Arbor, I went to Ohio State and I am bound by a common history and powerful tradition not to care about anything involving Wol... (choke)... Wolv...  Wolverines (gasp). Until Edwards signs a contract and becomes a Cleveland Brown, he still is identified as Maize and Blue and I have a duty to my alma mater to limit my comments to drunkenly warbled off-color songs about his horrible nature.
  4. After watching this team practice for the last four days, I have to say that Andre Davis and Antonio Bryant are having great camps. Dennis Northcutt is solid, of course, but we expect that of him. Bryant and Davis both have what most of us suspect is still-untapped potential, and I like the way both players are looking so far in training camp. Less Edwards means more reps for these two players, both of whom have the potential for break-out seasons.
  5. I don't think the Browns are going to a Super Bowl this year, barring the consumption of enough adult refreshments to paralyze that annoying "objective analysis" portion of my brain. So, I'm not nearly as worried about 2005 as I am about 2007. I want the Browns and Edwards refrain from stupidly pressuring one another or acting in haste, and I want the two sides to get the contract right. I would like to see that Edwards is happy with his contract if he fulfills his potential, and that the Browns are not in salary cap jail if he becomes another top-pick bust. Sometimes, a good contract is better than a fast contract.

So, with those reasons in mind, I can happily head to Berea today with one less thing making me agitated.

Edwards will be here when he's here. Until then, I think I'll spend some deep reflection time pondering the Browns defensive prospects.

Vacant expression? Check. Staring blankly into space? Check.

Let's rock.

- BDMc

Agree? Disagree? Write to me at barry@berniesinsiders.com and let me know what you think! However, beware of my recycling it if I get hard-up for ideas and decide to churn out one of those lame "Letter to the Webmaster" columns.

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