Jets GM: Edwards to play despite arrest
Braylon Edwards will play in the Jets’ next game against the Miami Dolphins. When he gets on the field against New York’s AFC East rival is up to Rex Ryan.
General manager Mike Tannenbaum told The Associated Press on Tuesday night that the star wide receiver will be active Sunday night despite being arrested for drunken driving Tuesday morning.
Tannenbaum said that after speaking with Ryan and owner Woody Johnson, the team determined that Edwards won’t start but will play in Miami.
”Braylon’s actions clearly come under the purview of the league’s substance abuse policy,” Tannenbaum said. ”This is going to have to run its course through the legal system, and any discipline that occurs will be by the league under that program.”
Edwards was arraigned on drunken-driving charges after a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit after he was stopped on Manhattan’s West Side around 5 a.m. Tuesday, prosecutors said.
The Jets had few options in terms of discipline due to the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. Any punishment they would dole out other than what the NFL eventually decides, would violate the CBA. That means the Jets could not suspend or deactivate him without risking a violation. Keeping him active and not playing him could also be perceived as punishment, also a violation.
Edwards will practice with the team this week as the Jets, coming off a huge victory over New England, prepare to play the undefeated Dolphins (2-0). He produced a solid performance against the Patriots, making five catches – including a touchdown – and had a 2-point conversion.
But, he angered Ryan when he was penalized for taunting after the touchdown catch – he briefly danced in the end zone in front of the defensive back covering him – and then danced again, but wasn’t penalized, after the conversion.
”I told him that he played a great game and we would have given him a game ball, but we didn’t because of those things,” Ryan said Monday. ”I love the way he played. He was really into it, but you’re killing us. You can’t put the team in that kind of jeopardy.”
Tannenbaum said he and Ryan were extremely angry when they heard the news Tuesday morning.
”Obviously, we’re very disappointed with Braylon’s actions,” Tannenbaum said. ”We take player conduct very seriously here.”
Edwards was charged with driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and driving while impaired, a violation. He’s due back in court Nov. 9. If convicted, he could face up to a year in jail.
He was released without bail in a case that could compound his legal troubles while he’s on probation after a fracas in Cleveland last year. Edwards was traded from the Browns to the Jets two days later, and fined a game check – about $200,000.
Authorities said there were four other people in the SUV, and the Jets confirmed that starting left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and defensive end Vernon Gholston were among them. Neither of those players was charged.
Tannenbaum said he and Ryan met with the two players, and based on their conversations, determined there was no punishment warranted.
It’s the latest embarrassing incident for a team that was featured on HBO’s ”Hard Knocks” this summer and declared itself a true Super Bowl contender. They were investigated by the NFL last week for their treatment of a female reporter at a recent practice. Commissioner Roger Goodell ruled that the Jets’ conduct was unprofessional but there was no sexual harassment, and Johnson apologized to TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz.
The league also said it would implement a training program – underwritten by Johnson – for all 32 teams on proper conduct in the workplace.
”They’re really two separate issues and we’re really disappointed at what happened yesterday with Braylon,” Tannenbaum said. ”We’re going to hold him accountable for what happened. As for last week, it’s something we can all learn from and we’re looking forward to working with the league in creating an educational and awareness program.”