Browns' Edwards 'embarrassed' over sideline tantrum
BEREA, Ohio -- Braylon Edwards walked into Cleveland's locker room nattily dressed in a dark, pinstriped sports coat instead of the usual sweats and sneakers he would normally wear the day after a game.
He looked and acted cool Monday.
On Sunday, he was anything but.
An embarrassed Edwards blamed "my passion for the game" for his showy sideline tantrum during the third quarter of Cleveland's 30-0 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals, a Terrell Owens-like display for the cocky second-year wide receiver.
Following an interception by Browns quarterback Charlie Frye, an enraged Edwards lost his composure after leaving the field. He exchanged words with Frye and even grabbed the QB's jersey as other teammates tried to settle him down as he angrily stormed around.
Edwards, who didn't speak to the media following the game, never directly apologized for his actions but he clearly regretted what happened.
"I don't feel like I embarrassed my teammates," he said. "I embarrassed myself to some extent. That's not my character. That's not me. Nobody knows me as that type of guy. I've always been the clean cut, quiet, well-spoken guy, so that wasn't me. I embarrassed myself a little bit and I feel I embarrassed this organization to some extent.
"I wish I could do it back, but I can't."
Browns coach Romeo Crennel said any discipline against Edwards would be handled internally. His options would be to suspend, fine or bench the former first-round pick. Or, Crennel may choose to do nothing.
"We are going to talk to Braylon and we are going to determine how we'll deal with it," Crennel said. "We are going to keep it in-house. It's family business and I'm not going to put it in the press."
Even before his rant on Sunday, Edwards was already on thin ice with Crennel. Last week, Edwards criticized Cleveland's conservative offensive play calling and then questioned teammate Brian Russell's hard hit on Bengals wide receiver Chad Johnson earlier this season.
Edwards insisted that Sunday's blowup had nothing to with Frye, who threw four interceptions in the loss.
"The emotions that I showed was not related towards Charlie Frye at all," he said. "I grabbed his jersey in reference to something else but as Romeo says, we'll keep that in house. I wasn't mad about something Charlie did."
Edwards, who had just two receptions for 29 yards, doesn't believe he should be disciplined for his outburst.
"All I did was show I cared about the game," he said. "All I did was show my passion for the game. It's not like I fought anybody. It's not like I gave the bird to somebody in the stands or anything like that. I was just showing passion about the game."
Maybe so, but Edwards' public display of frustration couldn't have come at a worse time for the Browns (3-8), who before being shut out by the NFL's lowest-ranked defense were showing some signs of progress in Crennel's second year.
However, the Browns were overwhelmed by the Bengals, and the lopsided loss was made worse by Edwards' tirade, which Crennel called an isolated incident and not one indicative of an undisciplined team.
"You are talking about one or two guys," Crennel said. "If you had 45 guys out of control, you could say that. We have one guy [Edwards] who is fiery and competitive. He is trying to make a point. Was it the right way to get the point across? No, it wasn't. That's part of the education process that we'll have to use to get him right. During the game, it's not time to approach teammates in a confrontational matter."
Crennel may need to punish Edwards at some level or risk losing his team. If he doesn't discipline Edwards, it could show that Crennel isn't tough enough. If he does sit Edwards, it could backfire as being too heavy handed.
"I'll do what's best for the team," he said.
Edwards acknowledged that he was wrong in airing his beliefs for the world to see. Next time he's upset, he promises to handle the situation differently.
"I shouldn't have blew up at all," he said. "I should have just waited until the game was over with and talked to whoever I had to talk to. That's the way I should have handled it. I shouldn't have let the media see me on the sidelines. I shouldn't have exploded like I did."
And while Edwards displayed sincerity and remorsefulness over Sunday's incident, he also took a swipe at some of his teammates for not sharing his desire to win.
"As a whole, I think we need to show more passion," he said. "I don't believe I'm throwing anybody under the bus by saying that. If you lose 30 to zip, obviously you're not showing passion. So I believe with five games left, we need to show passion. If we lose the rest of our games but we show passion and give everything we got, that's all you can expect from anybody.
"And if that's not enough, then it's not enough."
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press