BEREA , Ohio -- Shut up and put up. So goes the short, sweet formula for turning Braylon Edwards from a sourpuss into -- maybe -- the Browns’ brightest star.
Shut up and put up. So goes the short, sweet formula for turning Braylon Edwards from a sourpuss into -- maybe -- the Browns’ brightest star. Veterans are telling the 24-year-old wideout to cool his verbal jets and turn on the talent that made him the third pick of the 2005 draft. “They said that to him last year,” Head Coach Romeo Crennel said. “I think he may be listening a little more this year. That happens with maturity.” Crennel said the $1 million donation Edwards donated to scholarships for Cleveland school kids was an encouraging sign. Edwards admits getting discouraged by a consensus perception he acted immaturely. “It bothers you, when you know who you really are,” he said. “But at the end of the day, you can’t control what anybody thinks or feels. All you can do is control what you do, say and think and how you play.
“Taking that into consideration, I guess I’ve matured from that standpoint, not worrying about what everybody else says, being my own guy.”
Coming off surgery to repair a blown ACL, Edwards produced 884 receiving yards in 2006. It wasn’t quite like the 886 yards Paul Warfield gave the 1969 Browns, who reached an NFL title game.
Edwards too often talked like a prima donna.
He dropped too many passes.
It wasn’t his fault that the first play of the 2006 season, a long touchdown play to him, was erased by a holding penalty.
It was his fault that a ball that went off his hands in the final moments, turning into an interception that sealed a Saints win.This year? “The main thing is, I want to lead by example,” Edwards said a few minutes after Sunday’s practice. “We have Joe Jurevicius, who has 10 years in the league ... Jamal Lewis, eight years. (Eric) Steinbach, (Ryan) Tucker. We have guys who have done it for a while. They can do all the talking.” Edwards held out as a 2005 rookie and was phased in slowly after signing. Late in the year, he got his shot and delivered in two straight home games. He caught six balls for 90 yards in a win over Miami. Against Jacksonville, he was working on a five-catch, 86-yard, two-touchdown day when he blew out a knee surging for a downfield throw. After surgery, he missed spring drills and was nursed through training camp. His comeback went crazy fast -- in Games 2, 3 and 4, he caught a combined 15 passes for 301 yards. From there, his -- and the team’s -- season went south. “When I came back, I wasn’t 100 percent. Everybody knows that,” Edwards said. “I rushed back. But it was a chance I took. It was my own decision.” The rule of thumb is that ACL patients fare better in their second year back on the field. “That’s pretty much common knowledge. Eighty-five percent vs. 100 percent,” Edwards said. “This year I’m starting at 100 percent, possibly even a little bit better.” By that, he meant his conditioning has been so intense that he could be in better shape than he was before he hurt his knee in ’05. Edwards grew up as an age-group track star, coached in football and track by his father, Stan. He is very tuned into the science of running. “I believe I have some movement I wasn’t able to do last year,” he said. “My stride length has increased. I believe I’ll be a better player than I was last year.” The Browns can live with that kind of talk. Happy Relocation Seth McKinney is in his sixth NFL season but his first with the Browns. The former Round 3 pick -- he was the top choice of the draft-depleted Dolphins in 2002 -- could be a key man. He is running No. 1 at right guard, the most unsettled position on a line thought to be vastly improved. The Buffalo, Texas, native says he is pleased with his progress from a neck injury that cost him the 2005 season in Miami. He is just as pleased with his new environment. A writer asked McKinney in passing how he liked playing for Nick Saban in Miami. After laughing spontaneously, McKinney said, “I like Coach Saban. I’ve got nothing bad to say about him. But I like this atmosphere here better. I’ll tell you that much. It’s more professional.” Extra Points - After one defensive lapse Sunday, Romeo Crennel got in Kamerion Wimbley’s face to make a point. The exchange with the budding star reinforced Crennel’s reputation for coddling no one. - Travis Wilson’s bid to become the No. 3 receiver wasn’t helped when he got wide open on a deep route down the right sideline but dropped a well-thrown pass from Charlie Frye. - Joe Jurevicius has a bit of a short fuse. He blew up at himself after failing to make a tough catch Sunday. He picked up the bouncing ball and flailed at it with his foot. It flew backward over his head. - Offensive Coordinator Rob Chudzinski is among coaches who have turned this into a more vocal camp than last year’s. While the offense was isolated in a drill prior to Sunday’s final 11-on-11 session, Chudzinski yelled, “Let’s move! We had a great last period. Now we’ve gotta come back.” - Peter King of Sports Illustrated, who projects the Browns as the worst team in the NFL, was on the sidelines Monday. Braylon Edwards shrugged off King’s opinion, saying the same sorts of summer talk has been made about the Browns since 1999. Reach Repository sports writer Steve Doerschuk at (330) 580-8347 or firstname.lastname@example.org.