For the Spoiled Braylon Edwards— A real-life Hard Knock is in order

“I don’t mind my players having a good time after the game,
it’s staying out all night looking for it that worries me”
–Casey Stengel

From time-to-time, we all need people to help protect us from ourselves as we navigate through life. For Braylon Edwards, that time is now. While many of us were awakening to the sound of our alarm clocks Monday morning as we prepared for the rigors of another week, alarms were sounding in the life of Braylon Edwards, literally and figuratively.

Unfortunately, this pattern of irresponsibility is not a surprise to anyone that has been around him, dating back to his days as he matriculated at the University of Michigan.

Braylon Edwards has no built-in excuses. He didn’t grow up in poverty, devoid of structure, or without people that cared about him and loved him.

His father, Stanley Edwards, was a football star for Michigan in the late 70’s and when the petulant Braylon continued to feud and clash with Head Coach Lloyd Carr during his playing days as a Wolverine, Stan Edwards intervened and saved the day.

Although his father stood by his son and supported him, he never made excuses for him. Instead he insisted that his spoiled brat tendencies would cost him dearly if he didn’t make a route adjustment.

It worked…

Edward’s outstanding senior season netted him the coveted Fred Biletnikoff award and earned him a 1st round draft selection by the Cleveland Browns in 2005.

But, by 2006 he must’ve developed amnesia, forgetting the sage advice his father had given him. He was repeatedly late for team meetings, one time because he’d fallen asleep in the players lounge after partying all night.

In November 2006, he defied Head Coach Romeo Crennell’s orders not to attend the prominent UM-Ohio State game that season which featured the #1 Buckeyes vs. the #2 Wolverines. Braylon would be damned if he missed that, that’s his God-Given right! He was even captured on National TV that afternoon prancing along the sideline.

In the meantime, upon his return to Cleveland that evening he was late for another team meeting and fined. This, the night before a game against Pittsburgh, which the entire organization believed was their most important contest of that season. Veteran teammates openly expressed their displeasure with Braylon’s insolent behavior.

Later, in 2007, Edwards was pulled over for going 120 mph on the highway, but the cop let him go. When news leaked of this incident, police ultimately cited him. But, the defiant Edwards blamed the media.

And by now, everyone knows of the fateful incident in March 2009, when Edwards was carousing with Donte Stallworth in the wee hours of the morning. When the two parted company, Stallworth’s actions cost him dearly, accidently killing a pedestrian while behind the wheel. But apparently for Braylon Edwards, no lesson was learned.

The pattern had been firmly established, and despite being fined by Coach Eric Mangini multiple times while continually finding ways to dodge bullets, Braylon Edwards never changed his gameplan.

Finally, in October 2009, he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault when he punched a member of LeBron James entourage outside a nightclub at 2:30am.

His punishment? Two days later he was traded to the NY Jets.

He got to leave Cleveland and gravitate to an organization that just missed making it to the Super Bowl.

Which brings us to Monday morning... While we were all waking up to a new week, if Edwards’ recent escapade isn’t a serious wakeup call, then all bets are off.

For the record, he is still on probation from the altercation in October 2009. For the record, during his DWI arrest the other night he blew a 0.16, which was higher than that of Donte Stallworth’s the night of his fateful incident just 18-months ago. For the record, he was not punished by the NFL in any way after receiving a 180-day suspended jail sentence. And for the record, he never apologized for his recklessness with the law.

Braylon Edwards is paid to run routes, catch passes, and score touchdowns, but the only patterns he’s consistently run have been afoul of constituted authority, and he is in serious need of a real-life hard knock.

While paraphrasing Joe Namath during his immensely popular radio show the other night, JT The Brick stated that, “Namath was disappointed that Edwards would be allowed to play Sunday night vs. the Jets,” citing that his “actions were inexcusable.”

Namath is right. Take away the one thing that is the centerpiece of Braylon Edwards life, and maybe, just maybe, he’s scared straight.

Meanwhile Roger Goodell, where are you? Braylon Edwards, now more than ever, may really need you to protect him from himself. If not you, who? If not now, when? If not here, then where?

Edwards may want to take a page from another former Detroiter, Ivan Boesky. Boesky was the legendary stock trader that was convicted of insider trading in the late 80’s. It has been surmised that the character Gordon Gekko, played by Michael Douglas in the movie Wall Street, was based in part on the life of Boesky.

Ivan Boesky served (2) years in Prison and paid over $100 million in fines, but he readily admitted that the most severe and hurtful part of his punishment was that he was permanently barred from working in securities; he would never again be able to ply the trade he loved so well, forever. That aspect of Boesky’s incarceration cut the deepest, by his own admission.

So, without a real-life hard knock that could potentially save Braylon Edwards from himself, for the time being, his stock will continue to drop.

The question is, where does it bottom out?

(c) 2010