Addition By Subtraction: Edwards To Bite Big Apple

Christopher MaherCorrespondent IOctober 7, 2009

"Addition by subtraction"—Paul Brown

The legendary Hall of Fame coach is credited with this phrase, having used it to justify releasing players who did not meet his standards.

"Nothing good ever happens after midnight"—common saying

After the Braylon Edwards nightclub incident following a loss to the Bengals, which may have Cleveland's former diva with the dropsies facing criminal charges, it would not have been surprising if Eric Mangini had simply released Edwards outright.

Instead, he got value for Edwards. How much is debatable, but releasing a problem child in and of itself may have been the best course to take in the long term.

For a coach who is still in the process of changing the entire culture of a team, there was really no choice.

We've all had bad days at the office, and Edwards certainly had one. But, while we may stop at our corner pub for a few nips after a bad day at the office, most of us don't close nightclubs and throw down with people half our size.

Despite Edwards' incredible talent, this had to be done.

This wasn't just one bad night. It was one of many for Edwards Scissorhands.

And, even the initial scouting reports on Edwards foreshadowed his on-field performance.

The book on Edwards coming out of Michigan was that he could make the ESPN Sportscenter catches, but often drop the easy ones. For over four years, Browns fans saw just that.

His work ethic was often questioned, his route running was spotty along with his blocking, and his on-field antics would get the average kindergartner a time out.

And that was just on the field.

Who can forget his missing a crucial team meeting, defying then-coach Romeo Crennel, because he had to helicopter to Columbus to watch the Ohio State-Michigan game?

When the boos rained down on him like the balls he dropped at Cleveland Browns Stadium, he showed some severe cognitive dissonance.

Bray-on, as he became known, said the fans didn't like him because he went to Michigan.

Reality check: Thom Darden, Leroy Hoard and Steve Everitt, all Michigan men, were beloved in Cleveland. They got the job done. Bray-on didn't.

Never mind the four-figure bar tab he rang up at the Fontainebleu in Miami Beach on that tragic night with Donté Stallworth.

Never mind his alleged propensity to miss morning player meetings or sleep through them. 

A sports psychologist could have a field day with Braylon Edwards, but to laypeople, he certainly did not lack narcissism.

Call him T.O. v2.0, but without the résumé.

Thus, there was no choice but to call Dr. Mangini to the O.R. to remove another cancer.

Dr. Mangini's been busy this year. The Soldier (Kellen Winslow, Jr.), Shaun (let's deck the quarterback in the locker room) Smith, and now Edwards Scissorhands are gone.

Now, the short-term and long-term prognosis.

Short-term: This might hurt a bit

We've all heard that one right before the flu shot, and yes, it hurt.

The book on defending the Browns was to double up Edwards, a legitimate No. 1 receiver, and make someone else beat you.

In the Cincinnati game, the attention given to Edwards was largely responsible for Mohammed Massaquoi's breakout game. We got Chansi Stuckey, a No. 2 receiver, in return.

On the upside, Stuckey has been a favorite target of Matt Sanchez in New York, but he can't be expected to draw the coverage Edwards did.

For now, the Browns will be operating with two No. 2 receivers and a No. 3, and no clear and present danger defenses have to account for.

The absence of Edwards could cost a couple of victories this season, but teams can win without superstar wideouts.

This might hurt a bit, Part Two:

That is, if you have to deal with the Browns' special teams, which added yet another weapon in Jason Trusnik.

(Full disclosure: Trusnik played for my old high school).

Trusnik was named the AFC's special teams player of the week in Week Three, and has a reputation as a hammer on ST.

Officially a third-string linebacker for the Jets, he won't be expected to make anyone forget Jack Lambert, but his work ethic is highly regarded.

Long term: Health care reform

The Browns just dumped a lot of payroll that was not generating much in return.

Edwards was the third overall pick in the 2005 draft. That cap hit is being replaced by a seventh-rounder (Stuckey), an undrafted free agent (Trusnik) and two undisclosed draft picks, rumored to be a third-rounder and a fifth-rounder.

On any level, football teams are built from the inside out, and this deal affords the Browns the potential of four solid players for less than the cost of one diva.


Let's hope the patient is cancer-free.



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