In January 2009, I wrote a letter to Braylon Edwards. We had just finished Romeo Crennel’s disappointing tenure with the team. Eric Mangini was hired and Braylon and the Browns really had a chance to start over. Except Braylon never really started over. He came back even worse. He fought Mangini and the new team discipline every step of the way. He got in trouble off the field, which finally ended his tenure as a Cleveland Brown, but it didn’t have to be that way. If only he would have read my letter maybe I would have posted a nice picture rather than an animated one of him dropping the ball for the Jets.
Boy, that escalated quickly… I mean, that really got out of hand fast. First, you started dropping passes. Then we started booing you and making fun of you. Then we even started mocking your commercial endeavors like 5 hour energy. Then you yelled at us for hating you because you were from Michigan and claimed to have carried the Browns to a ten win season. And then we kept going making you the punchline of all our jokes until you basically became the only one to blame from this season other than Romeo Crennel.
Look, it never should have gotten to that point. You had a tough year. There were some bad breaks. Both your QB’s went down and had tough seasons. Your offensive coordinator seemed to have a sophomore slump as well. You didn’t have anybody to draw attention away from you as Stallworth was out and nobody emerged as a third wide receiver this year. On top of that, Winslow was hurt, which just meant a defense could lean just a bit more in your direction.
See, I gave him an out. Yes, he was a scapegoat for the bad season, but I knew we were being a bit unreasonable. I just wanted him to understand our perspective.
At the same time, we paid a lot of money to lose a lot of games this year as fans. We had our hopes up that our ten win season was a starting point, not the mountain top. We thought we had two good options at QB, and we thought we might just be able to challenge for an elusive playoff spot this season. You have to understand that our disappointment was going to manifest itself in an ugly fashion. And sure our drinking really doesn’t make us any more rational as fans.
See, if we both take responsibility, it creates a common ground where we can move on positively.
Still, you dropped a lot of balls that you could have caught. But, oh heck.
Can we just drop this whole… Sorry. Bad choice of words. Can we just squash it? As it turns out, you need us and we need you. We are willing to push aside all the negativity of the last year, and move on to next year in hopes of righting this sinking ship. We know that you have room to improve, but so do we. Deep down, while we aren’t responsible for your play this season, we know that our overwhelming negativity doesn’t really help to fix anything, either.
It is the kind of acidic and self-destructive behavior that has come to define the Cleveland Browns and their fanbase. I think you probably can identify, as you also show some self-destructive behavior at times.
Well, let’s not beat a dead horse. Let’s just see if we can move on and get this team turned around with Eric Mangini and company next year. OK? We will get our self-respect back as a football team and you will gain all the marketability and success you desire in your football-playing life. If you win, we win.
Well, it was never meant to be. Braylon got himself traded, and he still is holding the grudge today. Then again, we are still tweeting jokes about him with “drops” as the punchline. I would like to think that because Braylon is a jerk we have the moral high ground. Then again, we can be pretty jerky ourselves. He started it though, right?