Jets WR Edwards apologizes, practices; Rex Ryan says he’s tired of embarrassing issues

By Dennis Waszak Jr., AP
Thursday, September 23, 2010

Jets’ Edwards sorry, Ryan tired of team’s issues

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — Braylon Edwards is sorry. Rex Ryan is tired of all the drama.

Edwards apologized to his New York Jets teammates, coaches, family and fans on Wednesday, a day after he was arrested for drunken driving. He practiced with the team, released a statement and then spoke with the media.

“Being in this situation, being around an environment like this, you truly are appreciative,” Edwards said. “For the event to happen the way it did yesterday, it was sad for me in that situation.”

Edwards was arraigned on drunken-driving charges Tuesday after a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped on Manhattan’s West Side around 5 a.m., prosecutors said.

It was the latest negative incident for a team that has Super Bowl aspirations and starred on HBO’s “Hard Knocks” this summer. The Jets were investigated by the NFL last week for their treatment of a female television reporter. Ryan also brought up his own incident from January, when he was fined $50,000 by the team for making an obscene gesture at a mixed martial arts event in Miami.

“Quite honestly, I’m tired of dealing with some of these issues,” an irritated Ryan said. “I’m tired of the embarrassment to our owner and this organization. Let’s just end it. Let’s stop it. Whatever it is, however severe or minor, we don’t need to be that team. This team works too hard to be looked at in this light.”

General manager Mike Tannenbaum said Tuesday night that Edwards would be active Sunday night against Miami, but how much he plays would be up to Ryan. Both Tannenbaum and Ryan said Edwards’ playing time would be determined before kickoff.

“It’s just something that I feel is appropriate,” Ryan said.

Dolphins coach Tony Sparano said his team will prepare as if Edwards is starting.

The Jets had few options in terms of discipline due to the rules of the collective bargaining agreement. Any punishment they would dole out other than what the NFL eventually decides, could violate the CBA. That means the Jets could not suspend or deactivate him without risking a violation. Keeping him active and not playing him could also be perceived as punishment, also a violation.

Still, Edwards insisted he would not have complained if the Jets decided to deactivate him, although Tannenbaum said it is the team’s understanding that a player cannot waive his collectively bargained rights.

Both Ryan and Edwards said not starting is in itself a punishment.

“It is a prideful thing,” Edwards said. “Anything that they feel that they need to do as a disciplinary action, I’m OK with it and I support it.”

Edwards said he was most sorry for creating a situation that could become a distraction for the team, but would not say he was embarrassed by what happened or that he acted selfishly.

“With the pending legal matter and all that, I can’t let my emotions answer questions right now,” he said.

Edwards, 27, also disagreed that his situation would put another black eye on an organization that has had plenty of negative publicity lately.

“I don’t understand the black eye that this would put on the organization because this isn’t a representation what this organization is about,” he said. “This is a situation that I am in, that I put myself in. So I don’t see how it could be a black eye for them. It would be more so a black eye for myself if anything.”

Left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, who along with defensive end Vernon Gholston, was in Edwards’ car at the time, simply said some mistakes were made.

“We are all humans, and we don’t always make the right decisions all the time,” Ferguson said. “I don’t think it’s a situation that is unique to this team.”

Edwards’ teammates publicly supported him, but cornerback Darrelle Revis acknowledged that all of the incidents cast the Jets in a bad light.

“It is embarrassing because everybody is pointing the finger at us,” Revis said. “They say, ‘What happened now up in New York?’ We know things happen, but as players, we’ve got to be more careful. It’s a situation where he got jammed up. Me, truthfully, I don’t think he should’ve been out that late. Guys do their thing, but you’ve got to be responsible and careful.”

The team has a program called Player Protect, which makes transportation available to players free of charge and is kept confidential. Edwards said he normally has his own driver, but chose to drove into Manhattan on Monday night because he stayed at the facility to do extra work and wanted to make it to teammate Jerricho Cotchery’s on time.

“(Monday) was maybe the third time I’ve ever driven in the city of New York,” Edwards said.

Ryan disagrees with outsiders who say the Jets are an undisciplined team with too many players with character flaws.

“I think our football team has learned our lessons,” Ryan said. “This incident with Braylon, I think it serves me, the other coaches and the players in the organization that we have to be held accountable to each other.”

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