Sunday, January 24

The Man in the Mirror

If you had told me two years ago that Braylon Edwards would soon ascend the Mount Rushmore of Cleveland sports villains, I would not have believed you. In fact, I probably would've used some choice words to accuse you of blasphemy.

But after two years of questionable effort, mind-numbing drops, and constantly running his yap, Edwards "punched" his ticket to New York. Now, bad puns and all, Braylon Edwards just won't go away.

Earlier this week, Edwards thanked Eric Mangini for trading him to the Jets, a not-so-thinly-veiled jab at Mangini. In the wee hours of Saturday morning, Tony Grossi posted excerpts from a phone interview with Edwards' father, former NFL player Stanley Edwards, which once again made Browns fans shake their heads.

The elder Edwards said plenty of things, but the general thesis of his interview with Grossi was that Browns fans hate Braylon Edwards because he went to Michigan. We've seen Braylon bang this drum before, but it's good to know that it's not just him - the rest of his family is certifiable, too.

Let's settle this once and for all. There were various reasons why Browns fans learned to hate Braylon Edwards, and the fact that he attended that school up north had absolutely nothing to do with it. Contrary to Braylon and Stanley Edwards' distorted beliefs, not all Cleveland Browns fans are Ohio State honks.

As far as D-1 football in concerned, many Browns fans support the Buckeyes. Beyond them, there are large contingents that pull for Notre Dame, and plenty who support - gasp - Michigan. Some aren't interested in college football. But none of that matters, because we all have one common team that we want to succeed, and that team is the Cleveland Browns.

Of course there are a handful of fans on the fringe that would probably like to see 53 Ohio State alumni suit up for the Browns every week, but those fans are are in the micro-minority. Those fans also aren't very bright, because a team of 53 Buckeyes wouldn't fare very well on Sundays.

I'm an Ohio State fan (as well as a Penn State fan, which positions me solidly as a college sports polygamist), but when it comes to the Browns, college football allegiances have precisely zero effect on what I think is best for the team.

When the Browns picked Brian Robiskie in the second round of last year's draft, I was furious because it was the wrong pick. When the Browns drafted Braylon Edwards, I was pleased. I knew that Edwards was a really talented guy, and I always want to see talented players wearing orange and brown, whether they played college ball for (the) Ohio State University, the University of Michigan, or the University of Iraq.

I can't speak for everyone, but some of the reasons why I hate Braylon Edwards include his poor performance given his draft position, his endless drops, his constant chatter (which was never backed up on the field), his bloated contract (nearly $8 million per), and the fact that he wasn't exactly Pete Rose in the hustle department. If you're a great player, fans are willing to forgive quite a few warts, but Edwards wasn't a good player within the contexts of his draft position and fat rookie contract. Thus, Browns fans didn't like him.

Stanley Edwards' comments not only show us that Braylon's dad is a few cards short of a full deck, but they also give us a little glimpse into what made Braylon into the spoiled brat he is today.

At the risk of turning this column into a transcript of Dr. Phil, I don't think it's too presumptuous to say that Braylon Edwards' misbehavior was constantly enabled by his father. It's probably a safe bet that in the Edwards household, nothing was ever Braylon's fault. It wasn't Braylon's fault that he flunked the test; the teacher just didn't do a good job. It wasn't Braylon's fault that he wrecked the car; the road was poorly marked. And it wasn't Braylon's fault that he failed in Cleveland; the mean Browns fans just didn't like him.

As a matter of fact, some of Braylon's problems on the field might be linked to this phenomenon. We all know people who don't take ownership for their mistakes and shortcomings, and failure to do so comes with consequences. Braylon Edwards is one such person.

If someone never takes ownership for his mistakes, he's unlikely to say "I'm not very good at something, so I'm going to work really hard to improve." People like that lack mental fortitude. Would it make sense for a guy like that to show poor work ethic on the football field? If a guy like that started to drop the football, could you see him becoming a head case who suddenly can't catch anything? Does this sound painfully familiar?

Leroy Hoard and Aaron Shea went to Michigan. I liked those guys. Then again, neither of them were arrogant jerks who dropped passes or punched people.

Braylon Edwards is a loser who blames his problems on everyone but himself. Edwards is mentally soft and no matter how deeply he buries that fact, he knows it. He overcompensates with arrogance and false bravado. In spite of being dragged to the AFC Championship by a Jets team that plays great defense and runs the football effectively, Edwards will never be a core player on a championship team.

Browns fans don't like Braylon Edwards. At this point, nothing short of a miracle will change that. But it's not because of where he went to college, his haircut, or what type of cereal he ate for breakfast. If Braylon wants to know why we don't like him - and odds are that he doesn't really want to know - he can take a page out of Michael Jackson's book, and start with the man in mirror.


Andy said...

Nick, I like how you found basically the douchiest possible picture to accompany this article. It's like he took that photo in the hope that someday a blogger would take him to task for being such a knob and would need the perfect graphic to accompany it.

Braylon is my least favorite Brown ever, and this interview only adds fuel to the fire.

Saw Pete Rose in Caesar's last weekend. Dude needs a haircut.

My OSU/Browns fan overlap is non-zero; I like it when a local guy makes it on the Browns. That said, the best interests of the Cleveland Browns always take precedence. It's just a nice bonus if a Buckeye or Golden Flash makes the club. But I have no problem at all rooting for a Wolverine, Trojan, or Golden Domer once he puts that orange helmet on.

Didn't "Man in the Mirror" come out like 22 years ago?

Stan Edwards' interview was a clinic in douche-dom. A few excerpts to add:

"You guys all hate him.

If there was continuity in the organization and there was one quarterback he was playing with and he was still making Pro Bowl after Pro Bowl, the relationship would have still been the same with the Cleveland fans.
Just a tour de force of excuse-making. Also: not even vaguely true.

But Braylon's drops get talked about more in Cleveland because he is from Michigan. You can't tell me anything different.
Way to approach this open-mindedly. They actually get talked about more because he had more than anyone else in the entire NFL.

Are the drops a problem? I think a drop's always a problem when it stops your team from being successful,
When does a drop not do this? Of course they were a fucking problem.

Did Braylon's drops stop Cleveland from being successful? Probably in some drives.
Other drives, apparently, they helped advance the ball.

But Kellen Winslow dropped a lot of passes that never got talked about and you know that.
No he didn't, you idiot. K2 had some sticky hands and he always played 100 times harder than Braylon even when hurt. This is beyond bush league, throwing Winslow under the bus like that. K2 had some issues, but I have no problems with wha he did on the field as a Brown.

He's done some things that neither Randy, Larry, or TO can do,
What, exactly, is Braylon capable of that Larry Fitzgerald is not? Other than having TD passes bonk off his head, that is. Never saw Larry do that. Never saw Larry and his Dad bitch like this either. So I guess those things. Ask 100 NFL people which WR they'd rather have and see if anyone takes Braylon.

The one time Braylon had one year when he got the ball from the same guy, you saw the kind of year he had.
And then dropped like 95 passes from the same dude in 2008. NIce try, though.

OK, I've said enough. I sure hope that guy doesn't get to the Super Bowl.

NFL Shop said...

Here is a hot news:
Coach Rex Ryan confirmed his team's offseason intentions regarding restricted free agent Braylon Edwards Monday, saying the Jets plan to tender a one-year contract for the highest possible amount.Hot online shop:NFL Shop
"I definitely expect Braylon back," Ryan said. "I see us tendering him (at a) first- and a third-round pick, as high as we can go." After the tender is used, teams looking to acquire Edwards would have to surrender first- and third-round picks to get him via offer sheet. He'll be safe at that level.