Edwards, team looking for quiet off the field
BEREA — Romeo Crennel’s wish for Braylon Edwards in 2007 is as simple as a fly pattern.
“Hopefully, and I don’t know, hopefully he doesn’t talk quite as much and concentrates on football more,” the Browns coach said Sunday following practice.
That’s the plan.
“I am an emotional player,” Edwards said after starring in practice. “I love football, so a lot of times I let my emotions get the best of me and I speak from the heart and that will be truthful.
“Sometimes you have to suppress what you really feel and just be quiet. That’s one thing that I have definitely worked on and learned — to have that same passion for the game, that same energy, but just keep it to yourself.”
If Edwards wasn’t ripping an opposing cornerback (Carolina’s Ken Lucas) last year, he was late for a meeting the night before the Steelers game (he took a helicopter to the OSU-Michigan game) or berating the offensive linemen on the sideline (using Charlie Frye as a prop).
He also questioned the play-calling (of Maurice Carthon and Jeff Davidson), called out a teammate (Brian Russell, weeks after a clean hit) and was benched for a start after reportedly missing a team meeting.
All of which forced Crennel to answer question after question about Edwards’ immaturity.
“People only see the misperception of what they hear, what somebody else portrays,” Edwards said. “It bothers you because you know who you really are, but at the end of the day you can’t control what anybody thinks. All you can do is control what you do, what you say, what you think and how you play.”
Edwards began to reconstruct his public image during the offseason when he donated $1 million to the Cleveland schools. It’s only been three days, but he’s been the model citizen in camp. He’s led all the receiver drills — he’s the team’s best route runner by far — and offered constant encouragement to the younger receivers.
“The main thing that I want to do is just lead by example,” he said. “You have guys who have had some success, so they can do all the talking.”
Crennel is taking a wait-and-see attitude.
“(The veterans) said that to him last year but I think maybe he listens a little more this year,” Crennel said. “That’s what happens with maturity. When guys grow and mature, you get a different light on things. Hopefully his light is changing and football will be the priority, while off the field he’ll be a responsible person.”
The Browns are counting on a big year from No. 17. He caught 61 passes for 884 yards and six touchdowns last year, but he also dropped eight passes, according to stats compiled by the Washington Post. An offense that ranked 30th in scoring needs the No. 3 pick of the 2005 draft to play like it.
“We have a number of players that we feel need to take a step forward,” general manager Phil Savage said. “Braylon would be one.”
Edwards said he’s fully recovered from ACL surgery at the end of the 2005 season. He returned well ahead of schedule and started the 2006 opener, but deemed the knee only 85 percent healthy.
“I rushed back but it was a chance I took,” he said. “I chose to come back. This year I’m starting at 100 percent, possibly even a little bit better. I’m feeling good and I’m definitely thinking this will be a better year for myself and the team.”
Better and quieter.
Contact Scott Petrak at 329-7136 or firstname.lastname@example.org.