Derry: The One in the Barrel

Braylon Edwards' remarks from earlier this week caused a stir, but it's not the first time that he has caught Frank Derry's attention. The OBR columnist sounds off on the 2005 top draft pick and his approach to the game...

Braylon Edwards might be a wonderful son. He might be a loyal friend, a good cook, a fine singer, a great humanitarian. He might get out of his car and help old ladies across the street, and he might be the kind of millionaire who donates thousands of dollars to charity.

I don't know if any of that is true. I probably never will know. And, quite frankly, I don't care to know.

Why?

Because Edwards is not the type of person I would want as a friend and, despite a ton of talent, is not the kind of player I would want on my football team.

Edwards, the Browns' first-round draft choice in 2005, talks a great game. As of yet, he has yet to play one in the NFL.

Dating back to his days at the University of Michigan and continuing into his first two years with the Browns, Edwards has made a habit of dropping passes. Third-down passes that have ended drives and critical passes that wound up being intercepted.

But that's just the tip of the iceberg as to what I don't like about Edwards. There is more. Much more.

For example:

  • After insisting he was going to do everything in his power to be in training camp on time his rookie season, Edwards held out until he drained every dollar possible out of the Browns. Team goals meant nothing to Edwards, who wasn't ready to start until Week Eight. He suffered a season-ending knee injury four games later.
  • He has no regards for opponents, evidenced by the fact he called Carolina cornerback Ken Lucas just "a guy." In sports, that means he thought of Lucas as nothing special. It's impossible to say for sure, but I'll bet it helped inspire the Panthers to their 20-12 victory over the Browns.
  • He has no regard for his own teammates, evidenced by the fact he criticized safety Brian Russell for an early-season hit on Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson. Edwards should have been praising Russell for doing everything he could to help the Browns win. Instead, he chose to bash the effort.
  • He has no regards for his coaching staff, evidenced by the fact he openly criticized the red zone offensive play-calling against the Steelers.
  • He has no regards for anyone in the organization, evidenced by the fact he made less than complimentary comments about the struggling defending Super Bowl Champion Pittsburgh Steelers in the days leading up to the game. He again provided more bulletin board material to fire up an opponent in need of a spark.
  • He has no regards for doing what is best for the team. Just days before the Steelers game, Edwards said he was going to ask for special permission to miss the team's critical Saturday evening meeting so that he could attend the Ohio State-Michigan game. Reportedly, a couple of veteran players pulled Edwards to the side and advised him not to ask. But the mere fact he would even consider doing anything that could hurt his team's chances against their arch-rival tells you all you need to know about Braylon Edwards.

All of this from a guy who has a grand total of 20 NFL games and 73 catches under his belt heading into the Bengals game. He has played in no Pro Bowls; not a single playoff game; not even a regular-season game that had any playoff implications for the Browns.

Of all his sins, Edwards's criticism of Russell has to be the most grievous. You NEVER publicly call out a teammate, especially a guy who did absolutely nothing wrong. Russell's hit of Johnson was not dirty. The veteran safety wasn't penalized. The league didn't fine him. Even Johnson admitted it was a clean lick.

But Edwards, who said he was looking out for the welfare of his entire NFL wide receiver fraternity, still found fault with the hit.

The only thing I can think is that Edwards wants to buddy up with Johnson. Or maybe he's a Chad Johnson wanna-be.

Let's get one thing straight. Braylon Edwards, at this point in his career, can't carry Johnson's jock. I'm not a Chad Johnson fan, but no one can argue with the success he has had on the field.

Then again, I can't argue with the success Braylon Edwards has had on the field because, frankly speaking, he has had none.

I expect that when the Bengals run onto the field at Browns Stadium Sunday afternoon, Edwards will be trotting next to Johnson carrying his helmet

Ok. Maybe that is a bit of an exaggeration. Edwards probably skipped the team meeting to take his new best buddy out to dinner on Saturday night and later showed him a good time down in The Flats until the wee hours of the morning.

Ok. Another exaggeration. They probably were in by 11 p.m.

How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when Russell and Edwards sat down for their first chit-chat after Edwards's comments appeared in print.

Russell, always a class act, insisted he wasn't worried about the criticism. Maybe not, but you'd better believe many of Russell's teammates, both on the offensive and defensive side of the ball, lost a little respect for the former Michigan Wolverine.

Browns head coach Romeo Crennel, at least publicly, was extremely diplomatic when discussing Edwards' constant lip-flapping.

"These young guys don't know what they don't know," Crennel said. "Their job is to play football, and they should concentrate on playing football."

Crennel and general manager Phil Savage have worked hard to put a winning team on the field. They have gone to great lengths to bring in class athletes, guys who know there is no "I" in team.

But no matter how hard you try, you always seem to get at least one bad apple in every basket. Braylon Edwards is that apple for the Browns.


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