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Edwards: 'I'm Very Sorry for My Actions'

It was not the kind of Wednesday that Braylon Edwards, Rex Ryan and the Jets envisioned on Sunday and Monday nights, before Edwards was arrested early Tuesday morning for DUI in New York City.

"It's been interesting, to say the least. There hasn't been a lot of sleep," said Edwards, who showed up at his locker in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center to face the music of the whir of cameras and reporters' tough questions about the incident. "It's life, and I have to deal with the consequences. All I can do is stay positive, stay humble, and go day by day.

"I'm definitely most apologetic for the distraction."

Edwards also offered sincere apologies to everyone affected by his indiscretion, from his fans to Jets owner Woody Johnson, GM Mike Tannenbaum, head coach Rex Ryan and his teammates. He offered those apologies first to the group of TV reporters and camera operators, then to a second wave of print reporters. And before expressing those locker room regrets, he had them distributed in a statement that he made to the team's media relations department.

"I will respect the process that is in place and will fully cooperate with the league," he said in the statement. "I am truly happy to be a member of the New York Jets and I hope I have the opportunity to retire here. I now have to regain the trust of my teammates, the organization and the fans."

Ryan repeated the one penalty he imposed on Edwards that was first disclosed Tuesday night, which was to not start him at Miami against the Dolphins on Sunday night.

"I just thought when it came out, that was my first reaction to it, that we would not start Braylon. That's what we going with, that's how I felt at the time," Ryan said at this afternoon's news conference. "I've already mentioned the fact that it's kind of an embarrassing moment for the organization. I don't want to put our owner in a bad situation, an embarrassing light or anything else. It's just something I feel is appropriate."

"When you start and you're told that you're not starting and you're not hurt, it is a prideful thing," said Edwards, who has started in 15 of 17 regular-season and playoff games with the Jets since arriving in the trade last October with the Browns and 73 of 79 games in his six-year NFL career. "Anything they need to do as a disciplinary action, I'm OK with that. That's what the rules are. The rules are the rules. If there were harsher penalties, I'd be OK with that, too."

And that goes for any penalties he could still receive, whether from the Jets, the NFL's substance abuse program or the New York City courts.

But even though Edwards said he'd accept harsher punishment and the Jets might feel it would be appropriate to fine or suspend him, Tannenbaum explained this evening to reporters that that's not possible in this matter.

"Braylon's conduct clearly comes under the purview of the league's substance abuse policy," Tannenbaum said, "and the appropriate punishment, if the facts bear that out, he will subject to that discipline once the case has been adjudicated. A player cannot waive his collectively bargained rights. So we'll let the process run its course. We fully support the league and the program that's in place."

"I'm very sorry for my actions," said Edwards, who said he had spoken with individual teammates (but not to the entire group at a team meeting) as well as with Ryan, Johnson and, Tuesday night, Tannenbaum.

The GM said in that conversation Edwards "was very sorry, very disappointed, very remorseful, he really felt like he let everybody down, and I took his apology in a very sincere way."

Ryan was sorry in a quite different way to get the phonecall from Tannenbaum sometime between 6 and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday about Edwards' arrest.

"To say the least, I was a little upset with it," the coach said. "We had just mentioned we knew how important this game is, we're playing the Dolphins and the winner technically is in first place in this division. ... That's why my first opinion was we're going to bench him. I wasn't going to say suspend him indefinitely, this or that, because I don't know all the facts. But I wanted to make a statement that I did feel good about, which is that he won't start."

Ryan said when Edwards will play or how long he'll play for will be decided at some point "before we play the game" and that "it'll be based on what's best for the New York Jets and not anybody else."

The coach did mention to the players at this morning's team meeting that what's best for the Jets now is to put to bed the storylines about what kind of a team the Jets are.

"Let's just end it. Let's just stop," he said he told his players. "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. Yeah, we have a great time, no question we have a lot of fun. We get after it, we play a physical brand of football.

"But this team works. We compete, we study, we do everything it takes to win. That's what we should be focused on instead of other issues, myself being as guilty as anybody."

That was a reference to Ryan's highly publicized obscene gesture at a Miami mixed martial arts event before the Super Bowl, for which he was fined by the Jets.

Ryan disagreed that the Jets have brought players with character issues onto the team.

"I'm proud of the players we have in our locker room," he said. "I helped choose every one of the players. I think we've got a lot of great men in our locker room. I think Braylon's a good man, but I think Braylon made a mistake."

Fallout from this mistake could be a loss of focus for the Jets in South Florida in primetime. But Edwards thinks it's something "this team has the character to overcome" and so does quarterback Mark Sanchez.

"I know as for Braylon, he issued a statement, Mr. Tannenbaum issued a statement and that it's a pending legal matter so there's nothing else to add detail-wise," Sanchez said. "Braylon as a teammate and a friend, I'm supporting him — I know the whole team is. That's our stance."

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