Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Braylon Edwards' probation hearing set
By Jane McManus
New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards will appear before a judge in Cleveland Municipal Court Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. ET to address whether he violated the terms of his probation when he pleaded guilty to a DWI charge.
The appearance was moved up from Aug. 8. If he is found to have violated parole, he could be subject to a $1,000 fine or a maximum six-month jail term.
"The sooner to deal with it, the better," Edwards' lawyer, Peter M. Frankel, said Tuesday.
Edwards pleaded guilty Friday in New York to a misdemeanor driving while intoxicated charge. That case will be closed without jail time or probation if he meets conditions that include paying a $500 fine and staying in an NFL substance-abuse counseling program.
"Now it's really time to focus on football again," he said Friday.
But he will have to take time out for a detour to Cleveland, where he pleaded no contest in January 2010 to a misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct charge after being accused of punching a friend of former Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James.
Edwards, then with the Cleveland Browns, was traded to the Jets two days after the October 2009 episode.
A Cleveland judge put Edwards on probation for 18 months, fined him $1,000 and gave him a suspended 180-day jail sentence. He conceivably might have to serve that sentence if he's found to have violated his probation, though a judge wouldn't have to impose any jail time.
Edwards, 28, was pulled over in Manhattan in September. Police said his blood-alcohol level was twice the legal limit.
His lawyer said he hoped the judge would consider Edwards' charitable work in weighing any potential punishment for him. His Braylon Edwards Foundation gives scholarships, including $1 million in college grants to Cleveland students this spring, and contributes to health and hunger-prevention groups.
"I think the equities are certainly in his favor if you can look at all the work he's done and balance it against the one misstep in New York," Frankel said.
The Jets are scheduled to open training camp Sunday, and Edwards, a free agent, said Friday that he "most definitely" wanted to remain with the team. He also said he was aware the DWI incident could put off some teams.
"You may have some teams that are leery," Edwards said. "You may have some teams, hopefully the one I'm standing in now, that are OK with it."
Edwards also could be disciplined by the NFL under the substance-abuse policy.
Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.