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Braylon the Clown
Braylon the Clown
Much as this Sunday will likely serve as yet another validation of Eric Mangini's nation-building prowess - as his former team is just one step away from a Super Bowl - the familiar threads that intertwine the Browns and Jets will once again be demonstrated through the delicate hands of Braylon Edwards. And naturally, our former starcrossed wideout is having no trouble savoring the spotlight of an AFC Championship game. As for catching passes - that's quite another story. Dave Kolonich gets us caught up on everyone's favorite ex-Brown in his latest piece.
Much as this Sunday will likely serve as yet another validation of Eric Mangini's nation-building prowess - as his former team is just one step away from a Super Bowl - the familiar threads that intertwine the Browns and Jets will once again be demonstrated through the delicate hands of Braylon Edwards.
And naturally, our former starcrossed wideout is having no trouble savoring the spotlight of an AFC Championship game. As for catching passes - that's quite another story.
For Edwards, Jets Epitomize Commitment to Winning
Edwards came to the Jets in October in a trade with the woeful Cleveland Browns. The first thing he did Sunday was thank the Browns for jettisoning him.
"I've got to go on the record and thank Eric Mangini for giving me a chance to be part of Coach Rex and the things that we're doing as a team," he said after catching two passes for 41 yards.
Mangini is the Browns' coach, and former Jets coach, who butted heads with and eventually got rid of the players who did not buy into the Mangini Way. Whatever that is.
When asked what made Jets Coach Rex Ryan different from Mangini, Edwards said: "He lets people have fun, he lets people be who they are. He lets guys do what got them here."
And as for Braylon, he is doing exactly "what got (him) here", as he has continually teased the Jets with his big-play potential, only to fall back into his familiar role of maddening inconsistency. But then again, just look at the headline of this article - it's not so much what Braylon can do for the Jets, but what the Jets can do for Braylon.
Of course, in Braylon's world, his short time in New York has already granted the mercurial wideout his biggest career success -which is simply having the spotlight shine directly on him. Playing on a winning football team is merely an incidental fact, albeit the driving factor behind his name suddenly being on the front pages of New York media outlets.
Which is the unintentionally funny aspect of this whole narrative...
The times Braylon has been mentioned in bigger media outlets have been related to his continued dropping of passes. Add in the continued comments of his baffled father and Braylon has become more of a punchline than veteran playoff contributor. And really, looking at the Jets' playoff success, could you imagine a similar result without Braylon? Or, in other words, what has he actually brought to the team?
Besides comedy gold.
Such as this revelation...
Edwards's most intriguing insights pertained to the effect that losing had, even on well-compensated professional athletes.
In an ideal world, players would work hard and maintain a great attitude regardless of whether the team is 14-2 or 2-14, regardless of whether the relationship with the coach is a dream or a nightmare. Some players are more affected by losing than others. Edwards said that losing in Cleveland, where the Browns went 4-12 last season and lost their first four games of 2009, was suffocating.
"It's hard, hard coming to work when you don't really feel like you have a chance, or your team isn't that good, but Oct. 5, it changed," he said referring to the day he was traded. "I got brought to the New York Jets organization that has circled everything around winning. All pettiness was null and void, it's not a part of what we do. Everything is centered around the best way to win football games - and that's letting people be who they are. That's letting guys go out there and work hard at their craft every day and staying together."
"But if you're on a losing team, the mentality, it hurts you as a player. Waking up every morning, I'm working hard, I'm busting my butt, I'm risking injury just to go out and lose. I'm the laughingstock of the N.F.L., I'm ridiculed as a player."
Clearly, Braylon just doesn't get it. Our former Zoolander is of the mind that his association with a losing team made him look ridiculous, as opposed to the stunting of the franchise that he delivered through his wildly inconsistent play and me-centric philosophy. And if the Browns were indeed laughingstocks - which they clearly were - then Braylon was one of the driving forces towards this characterization becoming valid.
Obviously such logic is far beyond Braylon. Much like a spoiled trust fund kid, Braylon has what he thinks he wants, yet he doesn't even realize why. Certainly, a lot of attention is being paid to Braylon at the moment, thanks in part to the success of the overall team around him, but primarily because of his well-heeled role as a complete buffoon.
As evidence, just consider the following...
Politi: It's Time for NY Jets Wide Receiver Braylon Edwards to Stop Dropping Passes
Yet, it's front page news...and that can't be so bad. In the end, Braylon is pretty much getting everything that he wanted.
However, the beginning of the 2010 offseason could offer a much different perspective for someone boasting the delicate talents that Braylon has.
An uncapped 2010 could prove problematic for Braylon, as he loses most of his bargaining ability. In terms of being a restricted free agent, it's highly unlikely that any NFL team will give up first and third-round picks for Braylon, especially considering that the future financial investment for him will be costly.
Which would essentially leave Braylon back where he started...meaning that the Jets will have him around for another year - a year in which they hope that his antics are still funnier than they are destructive.
Either way, Braylon likely won't notice.
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