Braylon Edwards has been doing a lot of talking lately, which is something he didn't always do during his tumultuous tenure with the Browns.
The New York Jets receiver told reporters in New York Wednesday that he couldn't get out of Berea fast enough after he was told in October of last year he had been traded from the Browns to the Jets for receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and third- and fifth-round choices in the 2010 draft. He was also critical of the media and others that criticized him during his days in Cleveland.
Edwards was asked during a conference call if he's looking forward to playing against the Browns Sunday in Cleveland.
"Just a little bit," he said.
Edwards, who was selected third overall in the 2005 draft, had an up-and-down (mostly down) relationship with fans. The organization fell in and out of love with him. There were times when he looked dominant, but a high number of dropped passes confounded those in the front office.
More disturbing to the organization were a few off-the-field issues, including being clocked driving his car at 120 mph, only to have the police officer not issue a citation. The breaking point came when Edwards was arrested for punching a friend of LeBron James outside a Cleveland night club in the early morning hours after a home game against the Cincinnati Bengals. He was traded the next day.
"I never said I wanted to leave. I wasn't in a rush to get out of there," Edwards said. "On Oct. 7, I was traded to the Jets. When you get traded during the season, it means the organization doesn't want to have that person around. If that was what they were feeling, my feeling was I didn't want to be there."
Edwards will certainly be targeted by fans Sunday, which he fully expects. He's not as disliked as James is in Cleveland, but there won't be much love shown for him.
"Nobody will ever be liked 100 percent by the fans," he said. "There are people in New York that don't like me. There are a lot of fans (in Cleveland) that I respect that were there through the storm, showing up on cold days wearing my jersey. I think I'll get booed. They usually boo the opposition coming into a stadium. I don't look for a warm welcome. This is professional football, so I can deal with it."
Edwards was swallowed up in quarterback issues that hindered the offense in Cleveland. From Charlie Frye, to Derek Anderson to Brady Quinn, the offense was always in a state of transition.
"It creates a bit of inconsistency when the quarterback is constantly changed," he said. "Teams that are successful have consistency across the board at the quarterback position."
Browns coach Eric Mangini thinks the trade has worked out well for both teams. Edwards has become quarterback Mark Sanchez's favorite target (he has 25 receptions for 453 yards and five touchdowns this season). In addition to Stuckey and Trusnik, the Browns received offensive lineman Shawn Lauvao with the third-round pick and safety Larry Asante with the fifth-round choice. Stuckey is the third receiver. Trusnik is a backup linebacker and a contributor on special teams. Lauvao was slowed by an ankle injury and has yet to play, but he showed promise in training camp. Asante is on the practice squad.
Mangini declined to directly say that the trade was made because Edwards was counterproductive to what he was trying to accomplish.
"My goal with any player, and this isn't just Braylon, is we're all working in the same direction," Mangini said. "That's what you're always looking for and you're always trying to move things forward together as a group. You make decisions and move forward. I think he's moved forward and done some nice things, and we've moved forward and done some nice things. Ideally, from my perspective, you want everybody to just continue to push in the right direction. My experience with Braylon was that he did that for the most part."
Apparently the relationship between Mangini and Edwards wasn't as bad as is assumed. Edwards said he placed three phone calls to Mangini after the trade.
"I don't feel our relationship was doomed (from the start)," Edwards said. "After I was traded we had a good conversation. He was very open."
Edwards always felt that he wasn't totally accepted in Cleveland because he played at the University of Michigan. That opinion hasn't changed.
"It is what is. Ohio doesn't like Michigan," he said. "The first question I was asked when I became a Brown was how it was going to be being a Brown from Michigan."
Obviously, it didn't work out well.