Braylon Edwards guilty of DWI

Updated: July 23, 2011, 2:46 AM ET
By Jane McManus | ESPNNewYork.com

New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards pleaded guilty to driving while intoxicated on Friday to resolve a case stemming from a Sept. 21 police stop.

As part of the agreement with the court, his case will be closed without jail time or probation if he pays a $500 fine. He must continue in an NFL alcohol counseling program that he's been in since November.

He also gets a six-month driver's license suspension.

"I feel good. I feel like it came to a fair conclusion by the judge and DA," Edwards said. "I'm happy that it's past and now it's just really time to focus on football again."

Edwards will be a free agent when the NFL and players ratify a new collective bargaining agreement. Although the Jets sat Edwards for the first quarter of the Miami game immediately after his arrest, he could still be subject to NFL discipline.

This isn't the first incident involving Edwards. He was involved in a prior nightclub incident in Cleveland, in which he pleaded no contest to misdemeanor aggravated disorderly conduct. He was on probation in Ohio at the time of his DWI arrest. The guilty finding in New York could trigger a violation, with a possible $1,000 fine and six-month jail term.

The Jets were "aware" of the ruling.

"In light of the current labor situation, we will have no further comment," team spokesman Bruce Speight said.

Edwards' lawyer, Peter M. Frankel, said he hoped the league and Cleveland authorities would take into account the player's extensive charitable activities, including the $1 million in college scholarships he awarded Cleveland students this spring.

In June, Edwards was involved in a minor car crash on the Detroit River island park of Belle Isle. No charges were filed in that incident, and police said alcohol did not appear to be a factor.

The DWI resulted when Edwards was pulled over on Sept. 21, 2010 for tinted windows. Officers administered a breath test which determined his blood alcohol level was .16, or twice the legal limit.

In a charcoal suit and lime green dress shirt on one of the hottest days of the summer Friday, Edwards said he hopes to stay with the Jets and would like his contract addressed during the period when teams can exclusively re-sign their own players.

"I'm glad that we got it resolved today before free agency is officially open," Edwards said, flanked by his parents. "So that's definitely good for us, but at the same time I don't know you may have some teams that are leery. You may have some teams, hopefully the one I'm standing in now, that are OK with it."

The deal Edwards took is standard for first-time offenders, said Joan E. Vollero, the DA's deputy director of communication. The DWI is a Class A misdemeanor.

Edwards said he's been meeting every other week with a counselor in the NFL's program, its goal "to make sure that this is a one-time occurrence."

Last season for the Jets, Edwards had 53 catches for 914 yards and seven touchdowns. The Jets' other starting wide receiver, Santonio Holmes, will also be a free agent, and there has been debate among fans about which the Jets should keep if they can't afford both.

"I wouldn't compare myself against Tone, he's a friend as well as a teammate," Edwards said. "He's a great player, I'm a great player. We offer a lot on the field as well as off. So it's just a matter of if we can't get both of them whatever one they want to go with, it's their call really. If it's him I wish him nothing but the best."

Jane McManus is a reporter and columnist for ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Jane McManus has covered New York sports since 1998 and began covering football just before Brett Favre's stint with the Jets. Her work has appeared in Newsday, USA Today, The Journal News and The New York Times. Follow Jane on Twitter.

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