Braylon Edwards wants to stay with Jets

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. -- New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards flew to California for Mark Sanchez's "Jets West" camp, five days of classroom sessions and on-field workouts, but he didn't show for the first two days.

That seemed a bit curious, fueling speculation that Edwards, a free agent, didn't want to risk injury. Not so, according to Edwards.

In a phone interview with ESPNNewYork.com, Edwards said he skipped the first two days because of "personal issues." He said he'd join the rest of his teammates Wednesday for workouts at Mission Viejo High School, Sanchez's alma mater.

"It has nothing to do with me being a free agent," said Edwards, who is staying with the rest of the players at a posh Oceanside resort and was planning to attend a team barbeque Tuesday night at Sanchez's home.

Edwards will be one of the most coveted receivers on the free-agent market, but he expressed his desire to re-sign with the Jets.

"I definitely love the Jets," he said. "I love the organization and the direction we're heading. We have a great nucleus. I don't want to go anywhere else and start over. If it's up to me, I'd like to stay and keep the nucleus together."

Fourteen players showed up Tuesday for Day 2. A couple of them shrugged when asked about Edwards' absence.

"He's supposed to be here," Sanchez said. "Hopefully, he'll be here tomorrow. He's a free agent. He doesn't know if he's going to be a Jet. We're hoping and praying he is. For Braylon and Santonio [Holmes] and Brad [Smith], for them to show up is totally on them."

Holmes and Smith, too, are free agents. Holmes didn't make the trip, but there was word he may show later in the week. Smith participated in the entire workout, apparently against the advice of his agent.

Because of the lockout, the players have no injury protection. For free agents, the potential risk is greater.

"You definitely have to be careful," Smith said. "I heard it from my agent several times. You just have to be really smart about what you do. If you feel a little something, just stop."

Edwards said "Jets West" will benefit him whether he returns to the team or not.

"Who knows? Maybe I won't be a Jet, but it's good to get out there and get the work and be around my teammates," he said. "You have to stay in shape and stay sharp no matter what."

Rich Cimini covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com. Follow him on Twitter.