FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — Braylon Edwards was sticking up for his former teammate, taking to Twitter to back Mark Sanchez and bash the team he once played for.
Don’t blame the quarterback for the Jets’ struggles, the wide receiver wrote last week. Rather, people should blame “the idiots calling shots” in the organization. A few hours later, Edwards was cut by the Seattle Seahawks — and he quickly apologized to the Jets for a mistake made “in the heat of the moment,” thinking he blew any chance of a return with his stinging 140-character criticism.
“After the tweet, I was like, ‘Yeah, I burned that bridge,'” Edwards said with a smile Thursday — back as a member of the Jets with all apparently forgiven and forgotten.
Edwards was claimed off waivers from Seattle on Tuesday, reuniting the veteran wide receiver with Sanchez and the team he helped lead to consecutive AFC title games in 2009 and 2010.
“I felt as though,” Edwards said, “this was home.”
But first, there was a potentially uncomfortable moment Wednesday when Edwards ran into general manager Mike Tannenbaum, someone who calls those “shots” for the Jets, in the team’s cafeteria.
“The relationship that we developed here is that we’re all kind of goofy among each other,” Edwards said. “Everybody has a weird, funny or cool interaction. There actually wasn’t a moment of awkwardness. … I saw him and he was just as happy as me, or so it seemed. The awkwardness wasn’t there.”
The tweet is already old news to Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan.
“We’re both okay with it,” Ryan said.
He added: “I’ve always been a big fan of Braylon’s because I like the way he plays. So I think that comment … please. I want the player and I know that when he’s in our building, he’s had some success here. Again, I just like Braylon as a player and I like him as a person.
“There’s things privately where I’ve been called a lot worse from players.”
Edwards was a limited participant in his first practice Thursday with a hamstring issue, but passed his physical and Ryan was optimistic about his chances to play Monday night at Tennessee.
“Just based on the progression that I see, I hope I can go,” Edwards said.
Edwards’ presence certainly could help a low-scoring offense that has been dealing with a thin receiving corps all season. Rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill sprained the lateral collateral ligament in his right knee at Jacksonville on Sunday, and will likely miss the game against the Titans. With top receiver Santonio Holmes out for the season with a foot injury and Clyde Gates is still dealing with a concussion, that left only Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens, journeyman Mardy Gilyard and rookie Jordan White as healthy players at the position.
“It’s great news,” Sanchez said of Edwards’ return. “It’s exciting to have somebody like that back. We’re going to work him in slowly and hopefully get him ready to play.”
Edwards was released Monday from the Seahawks’ injury-reserve list after less than one unproductive season in Seattle. He had just eight catches for 74 yards and a touchdown in 10 games after signing a one-year deal in July. He spent last season in San Francisco, catching 15 passes for 181 yards in nine games with the 49ers.
“I feel great and I wished I had the chance to show it more, and now I do,” Edwards said. “I feel good. I feel like I have the same speed and I feel like I have the same strength, if not better, and I feel like I still have that same understanding of the game.
“I’m ready, and you’ll get a chance to see.”
Following the 2010 season, the Jets had to make the difficult choice of keeping either Holmes or Edwards since they wanted to have the money to be able to pursue other free agents to fill needs. New York considered Holmes the bigger playmaker and signed him to a five-year deal, while Edwards made it clear he’d prefer to return to the Jets at the right price.
That never came, and Edwards eventually signed with the 49ers. During the past offseason, Edwards tweeted regularly about his progress in his recovery from a knee injury that cut short his stint in San Francisco. But, the wide receiver still never heard from the Jets, who went out and drafted Hill — a similar-type receiver — out of Georgia Tech in the second round.
“To not get a phone call or not get an invite to see what was going on,” Edwards said, “that’s when I mentally (thought), ‘Well, it’s not going to happen. Let’s move on and get myself prepared to play in another situation.'”
So, he signed with Seattle and had a limited role there before tweaking his hamstring while running a route on Dec. 2 at Chicago. Seahawks coach Pete Carroll told Seattle-area reporters Wednesday that the team thought Edwards would be sidelined another three weeks, so it decided to move on.
“I don’t think Pete has an M.D.,” Edwards said with a laugh. “I’m just joking. That was what they thought. That was his opinion and everybody is entitled to their (opinion). The Jets have a different opinion.”
The 29-year-old Edwards, who had no catches against the Jets in Seattle back on Nov. 11, is still a terrific blocker. And he is a good fit for Tony Sparano’s run-first offense. He also has a good history with Sanchez, catching 88 passes for 11 touchdowns in two seasons with the Jets. The two also linked up for an 80-yard reception, the longest in the team’s postseason history, against Indianapolis in the 2009 playoffs.
“He’s one of those guys that knows how to run routes,” Sanchez said. “He’s played for a long time, understands coverages and picks up things quickly. We’re excited to have him back,”
Edwards has also been a personal favorite of Ryan, who routinely praised the receiver during his first stint in New York.
“I was happy to see him, despite the obvious comment,” Ryan said with a smile.
Will Braylon be a difference-maker down the stretch (assuming he’s healthy)? Be heard in the comments…
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