Jets have options with Edwards

BY foxsports • September 22, 2010

The New York Jets said they will “impose the appropriate disciplinary measures” on Braylon Edwards after the wide receiver was arrested at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday morning on the west side of Manhattan.

Chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said Edwards’ SUV was stopped because of excessive tinting on the windows. Officers noticed a strong smell of alcohol, and breath tests at the scene and the police station registered .16, twice the legal limit. Four other unidentified people were in the SUV. The New York Daily News reported that two were Jets tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and defensive end Vernon Ghloston.

In a statement later Tuesday, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said, "We are very disappointed in Braylon's actions this morning. The Player Protect program is in place for our organization to prevent this situation. Braylon is aware of this program and showed poor judgment."

"We are reviewing the information with the league and will impose the appropriate disciplinary measures."

The Player Protect program mentioned by Tannenbaum is one exclusively for professional athletes where players have available a 24-hour driving service. All Jets players received information on the program, and the club bears the expense.

It is not known where Edwards was coming from at the time, but earlier Monday evening he attended a charity event put on by Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery to benefit his foundation that helps underprivileged youth. Cotchery told WFAN Radio in New York the event was from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

The question is what “appropriate measures” will occur. Normally, discipline is meted out by the league after a case goes through the legal system. However, there is also a question of whether the incident could be a violation of Edwards’ probation stemming from an incident in Cleveland last year.

Edwards pleaded no contest in January to a charge of misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct and prosecutors dropped an assault charge. Edwards was accused of punching a friend of then-Cleveland Cavalier player LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub at 2:30 a.m. on Oct. 5.

In suspending a 180-day sentence, fining Edwards $1,000 and placing him on inactive probation, meaning he did not have to report to a probation officer, Municipal Judge Michelle Earley said to Edwards, "Someone who has as much to lose as you should not be standing in front of me. Situations like this are senseless. You have to make better choices."

Edwards was traded by the Browns two days after the incident and at that time, Tannenbaum said the team was aware that Edwards had “issues” but believed “the risk was manageable.”

He was not suspended by the league for violating the personal conduct policy, but was fined one 2010 game check. Based on his salary of $4.335 million, the fine equals $255,000.

In Sunday’s game against New England, Edwards scored a touchdown and added a two-point conversion. However, he was also penalized for taunting after the touchdown and the Jets had to kick off from their 15-yard line. He came close to taunting again after the two-point play later in the game.

Coach Rex Ryan revealed Monday that he thought of awarding Edwards a game ball, but decided not to because of the penalty.

Said Ryan, “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. 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 … I appreciate how passionate he is, but you don’t want to be selfish. That’s basically what that is. As great as he played, and no one is as big a Braylon fan as I am, that’s something I probably should have addressed right when it happened. I was too worried about trying to get them stopped, but that needed to be addressed and we did address it.

“He’s smart. “He knows better than that. It’s not the first time he’s ever been in the end zone either. He knows.”
After the latest incident, one player told, "It's ridiculous. First, we have a program in place to prevent this exact thing. Second, he's in a contract year and if he can't keep his nose clean this year, how about when he gets a new contract? He has money to call for a ride.

"It's unacceptable because now his teammates have to answer questions on that instead of focusing on Miami (Sunday’s opponent). Some people can't handle a little success. ... We just started putting that reporter stuff behind us, and now this. They should fine him to the max. This is just stupid."

Edwards’ arrest at that time of the day also make ironic comments he recently made, comparing New York to Cleveland.

"There's nothing going on in Cleveland," he said. "There's no real estate. There's no social life, no social networking. All the people who have something going on leave Cleveland. So Cleveland has nothing, and I came in there with a New York-type of essence. So what? That was the attitude I came in with. Like, this is who I am. They didn't like the flash."

Howard Balzer is a Senior Writer for The Sports Xchange.

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