Even with the dismal state of the Browns' passing attack, there has been no second-guessing of coach Eric Mangini's decision to trade receiver Braylon Edwards to the New York Jets last Oct. 7.
Today, Mangini's move looks more solid than ever. In fact, Jets coach Rex Ryan may be starting to agree with Mangini.
It appears Edwards is well on the way to making himself expendable with his second team following a DUI arrest in New York City at 5:13 a.m. Tuesday morning.
According to reports in the New York Post and New York Daily News, Edwards was seen driving erratically in a Range Rover with heavily tinted windows near the Lincoln Tunnel. Riding with at least one passenger, Edwards reportedly blew .16, twice the legal limit, on a Breathalyzer test.
Edwards is on probation after pleading no contest to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct in Cleveland for an October, 2009 incident outside a nightclub in which he punched a friend of LeBron James.
On Monday, Ryan said he had considered Edwards for a game ball for his performance in a 28-14 victory over the New England Patriots, but decided not to reward Edwards because of a taunting penalty. Edwards caught five passes for 45 yards, including a TD and a two-point conversion.
''I love the way he played -- he was really into it -- but you're killing us," Ryan told Jets reporters. "You can't put the team in that kind of jeopardy. I appreciate how passionate he is, but you don't want to be selfish. That's basically what that is."
Even more distressing to the Jets is that they have a Player Protect program, which provides rides home for impaired drivers. The front office is not informed about those who call.
Edwards obviously learned little from his brush with the law last October in Cleveland or from drinking with then-Browns receiver Donte' Stallworth in Miami the evening before Stallworth struck and killed a pedestrian in March, 2009.
There is already speculation that this will be Edwards' last season with the Jets. He will be an unrestricted free agent in 2011 after signing a one-year, $6.05 million tender in the off-season.
The Jets have been criticized for acquiring players with troubled off-the-field histories, including Edwards and receiver Santonio Holmes, who is serving a four-game suspension for a violation of the league's substance abuse policy.
Edwards may have violated his probation for the October assault charge. But that incident falls under the NFL's personal conduct policy, while DUIs come under the heading of substance abuse, so the two cannot be combined for league punishment purposes.
A league suspension may not be the harshest penalty Edwards receives. He appears to be underestimating the impact his off-field activities will have on his football future. There will likely be a team interested in Edwards' services next season, but perhaps not for the price he will believe he deserves.
Cris Collinsworth and Mike Lombardi discussed Edwards DUI on this week's episode of "Inside the NFL'' on Showtime.
''He has to understand what he is doing to himself right now,'' Collinsworth said. ''Right now the other teams around the league, everyone has players that are issues. But the superstar players can get away with it. You have to keep your superstar players even if there are issues, even if there are problems, they still keep them. Braylon is not at that level to where people are going to line-up to go get Braylon Edwards with all these issues. So, he’s really working very hard at trying to work his way out of this league.''
Lombardi, the former Browns general manager, seemed certain the Jets will let Edwards go.
''I know the Jets will not re-sign Braylon Edwards next year,'' Lombardi said. ''He will be a free agent. And what you (Cris) just said is very true. He can’t live off those 16 touchdown passes he had in 2007. He has to play now. People realize perhaps a problem in the locker room, perhaps a suspension looming if he gets caught again. So Braylon Edwards, this decision he made with this DUI has hurt himself in future earning dollars and will impact him next year if in fact we have free agency.''
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