Warning: The following statement is for adults only. There's an old joke about prostitutes that states that the value of one's services is always highest prior to delivering the goods. After that point there is not much sense in haggling over prices.
While this is not intended to compare the oldest profession in the world to a first round draft choice in the NFL, there is much to be learned from it. The Browns, meaning Phil Savage and Romeo Crennel, have been very careful about what they are saying about the Braylon Edwards holdout, but behind the scenes they must be fuming. Edwards, who, as seen on ESPN leading up to draft day, seemed more concerned with marketing himself than winning football games. Right now, he's not very marketable with the Cleveland Browns fans, let alone the rest of the country.
The two sides apparently are further apart than they have made us believe, otherwise a deal would have been struck. It now appears unlikely that Edwards would be available for the first exhibition game, even if he arrived in Berea in the next couple of days. Somebody should remind Braylon that the Browns won four games without him last year, and they can win four games without him this year. His value to this team diminishes with every day that he is missing.
Nobody can have a problem with the third pick in the draft trying to get as much as he can, up to a point. I don't care what his teammates say about his absence, including the fact that ‘business is business'. I would think that the constant questioning about Edwards' holdout is getting old to the veteran players. I don't think that learning the playbook at this point is nearly as important to the building of camaraderie within the team. I have already been told by several veterans that QB Trent Dilfer is a tremendous leader on and off the field, and there have been the makings of great relationships in the locker room and off the field. The relationship between the offense that has been collectively working it's tail off during two-a-days will take a long time to develop if and when Edwards returns.
Owner Randy Lerner, and the Browns organization dating back to his father, Al, have already proven to be very fair to their employees. Witness how Chris Palmer was taken care of (he didn't have to give back money after signing on with Houston). And Butch Davis (who was paid over $12 million after he quit on the team). And, most recently, Kellen Winslow, Jr., who will be given every opportunity to recoup most of the money he could have lost due to a non-football injury.
The point is that once Edwards missed the first practice, his value to the team has gone down. And it goes down further with each missed day. There was plenty of time between Draft Day and training camp to get a deal done, especially when the first pick signed and set the level of the bar. A lot of Browns fans were happy to see the team go with Edwards, but that happiness will erode with every passing day.
The new-look organization unveiled Romeo Crennel's team Saturday night at Cleveland Browns Stadium. It would have been nice if Braylon Edwards could have been part of the party, but that was his choice. As far as I'm concerned, you only get one opportunity to make a first impression, and Braylon may be missing out on that opportunity.
‘More Sports & Les Levine' can be seen M-F from 6-7pm and 11-midnight on Adelphia Channel 15. E-mail email@example.com or www.leslevine.com