While getting ready for the morning, WKYC formed a super group with WTAM to promote their annual “Coats for Kids” charity drive. Within the segment, Willis and Snyder (the TAM morning show) discussed recent comments made by wide receiver Braylon Edwards.
When a reporter mentioned that Edwards’ play reminded him of the “Braylon Edwards of last season,” Edwards responded with the following.
”I’m really to the point now where I’m just playing football,” Edwards said. ”I could care less about fans, media, people talking about trading me and the B.S. that’s going on with our team and the season. I’ve got a job to do. My job is to catch the football. So I cleared my mind and just played football. I’m not going to feed into whatever else is going on.”
When I first heard this audio, I thought to myself “Oh no…Here we go with another disgruntled player looking for a way out.” It wasn’t long ago that Braylon interviewed with Sports Illustrated, saying that he wanted to be traded before last season. Conveniently, after a Pro Bowl year, Cleveland turned into the Land of Oz and everyone was happy. But now that we’ve turned back into the black-and-white tornado scene…not so much.
Edwards quickly went on to clear the air for anyone that felt the same way. He said that he wants to be in Cleveland, and he wants to get back to the level that they were playing at last season. His tone was sincere as he claimed that he was well beyond frustration. “It’s embarrassing,” he claimed. And honestly, I can’t disagree with him. Individual players aside, to not be able to score touchdowns at this level of failure is unheard of.
But where I do disagree with Edwards is on his response to all of the journalistic bashing and fans booing. I call it “Romeo Crennel with a twist.”
”It is what it is. I’ve learned being here that I’m very unappreciated. Not in the organization, just in the eyes of the fans, the city. Since Day One I’ve been a marked man coming from Michigan. It’s just gone that way. Even when things are good, there’s heckles.”
I personally do not listen to WKNR’s “Munch on Sports” very often, but I do know that former Browns tight end Aaron Shea frequents the show; and I hope that he is on this afternoon. A former Michigan Wolverine himself, I bet there are countless fans that would love to have a (fully healthy) Shea donning the Orange and Brown. People do not despise Tom Brady because he’s from Michigan. If anything, they despise him because he continually puts up numbers that most fans will never see from a quarterback on their team. Well, that and the whole Gisele thing, but you know what I mean.
Last season, when things were going well, Edwards was embraced for his play on the field. Between the third and fourth quarter at Browns stadium, “Hang on Sloopy” is played through the loudspeakers to ring in the final frame of play. Though known an Ohio State song, it was not a rare occasion to see Edwards participating with fans. It was during these times that fans embraced Edwards for his interaction off of the field. Edwards was an is a Brown.
At no point does anyone heckle or “boo” Edwards because of the school he attended several years ago. They heckle due to the constant under performance week in and week out. Phil Savage has quickly defended his receiver, saying that he dropped double-digit passes last season, and it is just the losing that has amplified matters. And while the definition of a dropped pass can be debated until the end of time, the number of drops is not what has irked the fans for the season. Phil’s got something here – it is the losing. But it is these drops that are the cause of the losing. It is the fact that you can pinpoint specific drops that have in fact been of the game-changing variety.
If Edwards catches that ball against the Baltimore Ravens, this entire second half of the season would have been different. The Browns would have won the game. There is a good chance that Derek Anderson would not have been removed before the following Thursday night game in Denver. Brady Quinn, in turn, would not have been injured the following week against the Buffalo Bills. And Ken Dorsey would not be our starting quarterback at this present time, heading into two divisional games. It’s that Butterfly Effect that makes fans remember, Braylon. Not the fact that you were on a team that rivals The Ohio State University.
To not care about the “fans” is different from caring about the opinions of said “fans.” It isn’t the opinions that pay for the tickets. If anything, it’s the cruel internal longing for disappointment that ponies up the funds in the off-season. But to say that it’s unwarranted, and/or because you’re from Michigan? This charade on Monday Night Football has been even more unnerving as it makes the national media think that this season has not been as bad as the “fans” and the “media” have made it look. “Hey, look! Braylon didn’t drop that one! He’s back!” Three games of decent production will not make up for 13 dreadful ones. As Rick mentioned in an email earlier this morning, “back on track” will be something that can be determined next week when only us Ohioians are watching. Your welcome, rest of America. Go enjoy your “good” football. We’ll catch the highlights.