Jets' Edwards wants payback against Browns
Braylon Edwards admits it will take a lot of effort to contain the intense emotions sure to be whipping through his mind like the frigid winds off Lake Erie.
Edwards spent more than four seasons with the Browns before being traded to the Jets last year, and Sunday's return to Cleveland already is rekindling bitter memories of his turbulent run there.
Often criticized for not fulfilling the potential the Browns envisioned when they made him the third overall pick in the 2005 draft, Edwards can't forget the often vicious taunts from fans, the media and from within the organization.
"I'm going to have to control myself, because at the end of the day, it's a bitter rivalry," Edwards said about looking ahead to the game. "For the people that don't like me, I share the same feeling. I don't like them as well. I could give you a B.S. answer, but the short and skinny of it is that I'm going back there to handle business."
He plans to do that with a big individual performance in a victory.
"I left there with a bitter taste in my mouth, and I'm going back there for some satisfaction," said Edwards, who still wears the same No. 17 he wore in Cleveland. "They can see it for how they want it. They can read it for how they want it. Just know that 17's coming to work when we play next week."
And he will carry memories of criticism from Browns fans who wanted more from him. Edwards had a breakout season in 2007 with 80 catches for 1,289 yards and 16 touchdowns. But he nose-dived the following year with 55 catches for 873 yards and three TDs, and drew the fans' ire with his frequent drops.
He won't soon forget what he considers the city's mean-spirited criticism at games, in the newspapers, within the Browns' coaching staff and front office. Even on Twitter.
"You read all the negative stuff that was said, that was written, that was tweeted," said Edwards, who caught a 74-yard touchdown pass Sunday in the Jets' 23-20 overtime win in Detroit. "We're supposed to be superhumans and be above all that. But at the end of the day, we're human like everybody else. And so, I took all that to heart."
Edwards was traded to the Jets on Oct. 7, 2009, for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey and special-teamer Jason Trusnik. The deal came two days after Edwards was involved in an incident outside a Cleveland nightclub, in which he was accused of punching a friend of LeBron James. Edwards pleaded no contest to the charges during the offseason.
It wasn't the first time Edwards got in trouble during his run in Cleveland; he was partying with former Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth in Miami hours before Stallworth drove drunk and killed a man in March 2009. Once, while recovering from a foot injury in 2008, Edwards cut his heel while running in socks after practice. Also that year, he was pulled over for driving his Bentley 120 mph in a 65-mph zone.
There have been more problems with the Jets. In the early morning of Sept. 21, he was arrested on misdemeanor DWI charges in Manhattan. He's due back in court Tuesday.
Edwards, who could face up to a year in jail if convicted, will not discuss his situation, citing "a pending legal matter." He's only too happy to talk about Sunday's matchup. This one is as personal as it gets.
"I remember the comments, I remember the writers, I remember the fans, I remember the coaches, I remember the people in the organization," he said. "I remember everything and everybody there that had something to say when 17 exited the doors."
About the only person Edwards harbors no bitterness toward: Browns coach Eric Mangini, who did Edwards a favor by trading him.
"He gave me an opportunity to leave the Browns and play with a winning organization that I'm happy to be a part of," Edwards said.
As for everyone else? Well, it's one man against an entire city.