Braylon Edwards charged with DUI

Updated: September 22, 2010, 3:52 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

NEW YORK -- New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested Tuesday on charges of driving while intoxicated after officers pulled him over because his SUV had excessive tinting on its windows, police said.

Officers on the lookout for vehicle violations like excessive tinting or missing registration stickers pulled over Edwards' Land Rover on Manhattan's West Side at about 5:15 a.m. ET and noticed a strong smell of alcohol, chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Edwards was given a breath test at the scene and another at a police station. His blood alcohol level was .16, twice the legal limit, officials said. There were four other people in the SUV at the time.

The Jets expressed their disappointment in the receiver in a statement Tuesday from general manager Mike Tannenbaum.

"We are very disappointed in Braylon's actions this morning. The Player Protect program is in place for our organization to prevent this situation. Braylon is aware of this program and showed poor judgment," Tannenbaum said.

"We are reviewing the information with the league and will impose the appropriate disciplinary measures."

The Player Protect program provides a 24-hour driving service exclusively for professional athletes. The company also provides security, if requested, from current or former law-enforcement agents.

If a player wants a lift home, he can call anytime and will be driven home in a luxury SUV or a Mercedes limo or an executive limo van.

The Jets, through their player development program, distributed leaflets on the Player Protect program to every player on the team. It informs them they aren't charged for the service, and the club picks up the expense.

Edwards, who caught a touchdown pass and two-point conversion on Sunday in the Jets' 28-14 victory against the New England Patriots, is currently in police custody and will be arraigned later Tuesday.

Edwards' attorney, Peter Frankel, acknowledged that the specifics of the case as laid out by authorities were accurate, saying: "That's my understanding, yes." But he quickly added: "I can't really get into anything that happened."

Frankel, who has represented imprisoned former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress in his attempts to gain work release, said Edwards would not be available to the media. "We just want to get him out," he said. "I'm sure he's absolutely exhausted and he wants to go back to his home and his teammates."

Ira Judelson, a New York City-based bail bondsman, was at the courthouse Tuesday and indicated that he had been instructed to pay whatever bail is necessary to keep Edwards out of jail.

During his weekly spot on WFAN-AM on Tuesday morning, Jets wide receiver Jerricho Cotchery said Edwards attended a Monday night event in support of Cotchery's nonprofit foundation benefiting underprivileged youth in Manhattan.

Cotchery said several teammates were there, and the event ran from 6:30 p.m. until 9:30 p.m. on Manhattan's West Side.

It's not clear where Edwards was coming from when he was pulled over.

The Jets acquired Edwards, a former first-round pick out of Michigan in 2005, from the Cleveland Browns only days after he was accused of punching a man outside a Cleveland nightclub in October 2009.

The victim was an acquaintance of LeBron James'. Edwards pleaded not guilty at the time, but he ended up pleading no contest to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct. He received probation and a $1,000 fine.

Pending the outcome of the New York City case, Edwards may have to return to Cleveland to face a possible probation violation, which could carry jail time. The Cleveland Municipal Court judge handling his case has been notified of his New York arrest, court spokesman Ed Ferenc said.

Edwards was required to make the plea in the Cleveland case in person, and it took him away from the Jets for a day as they prepared for a playoff game on Jan. 12. At the time, the Jets feared he would be slapped with a one-game suspension from the NFL, but they learned in late June that there would be no sanction from the league.

If Edwards is convicted on his DUI charge, or pleads no contest, he likely will be subject to the league's personal conduct policy and face a possible suspension, a league source clarified late Monday.

Edwards currently can only be disciplined under the league's substance abuse policy, in which he faces a maximum fine of $50,000 under terms of the collective bargaining agreement.

However, Edwards' misdemeanor disorderly conduct conviction in Ohio stemming from his altercation outside a Cleveland nightclub in October resulted in a previously undisclosed fine of his first game check of an estimated $200,000, even though he was not suspended by commissioner Roger Goodell, the source said.

A conviction or no contest plea to DWI likely would be viewed as a second violation of the personal conduct policy, a league official said.

Edwards' big game Sunday was overshadowed by a taunting penalty he received after his touchdown.

On Monday, Edwards was chastised by coach Rex Ryan -- publicly and privately. In a team meeting, Ryan announced that he was prepared to give Edwards a game ball for his performance, but he decided against it because of the penalty.

"I love the way he played -- he was really into it -- but you're killing us," Ryan told 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."

Jets punter Steve Weatherford wasn't happy with his teammate's situation.

"It's obviously disappointing because he's a big part of our team offensively," he said on ESPN's "SportsCenter" on Tuesday.

This might be Edwards' final season with the Jets. In the offseason, he signed a one-year tender for $6.05 million, and he's due to become an unrestricted free agent in 2011.

The Jets were heavily criticized in the offseason for acquiring players with off-the-field issues. They traded for wide receiver Santonio Holmes even though he was facing a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy. He has served two games.

Also, they traded for cornerback Antonio Cromartie, whose tenure with the San Diego Chargers was tainted by paternity issues. At the time of the trade, in March, Cromartie had fathered seven children from six different women and was late on $25,000 in child-support payments. To help Cromartie, the Jets fronted him $500,000 of his $1.1 million salary.

If Edwards isn't active for Sunday night's game in Miami, the Jets would be without two of their top three receivers. They have only three other receivers on the roster: Cotchery, Brad Smith and David Clowney.

They could look to re-sign veteran Laveranues Coles.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Rich Cimini, ESPNNewYork.com's Ian Begley, ESPN senior NFL analyst Chris Mortensen and The Associated Press was used in this report.

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