A trucker’s job is formidable, demanding, arduous, and just plain tough. Yet they are proud to perform their duties under the most adverse conditions. And then there are our self-absorbed NFL narcissists, who we keep around for amusement purposes.
The “Ticket Out of Town” Award:
Braylon Edwards, WR, Cleveland Browns/New York Jets
So you despise the team you’re playing for (Cleveland), and loathe its coach. How does a former first-round draft pick find his way off the roster and in another town? Simple: punch a friend of the most celebrated sports star in Cleveland’s history.
That’s exactly what former Brown WR Braylon Edwards did. On October 5, outside a Cleveland nightclub, Edwards allegedly punched promoter Edward Givens in the face. Givens just happens to be tight with NBA Cleveland Cavalier superstar LeBron James. Edwards was formerly charged with misdemeanor assault. Two days later, the Browns traded Edwards to the New York Jets, a playoff contending franchise. Problem solved.
But where one opportunistic door opens, another seems to close. Edwards has apparently taken his game off the field, as his recent child support lawsuit would suggest. Nik Pace, an America’s Top Model finalist, is suing Edwards in New York for $70,000 per month in child support. Since Edwards acknowledged his fatherhood, he won’t be able to punch his ticket out of this mess anytime soon.
The “Dunce Cap” Award:
Randy Hanson, assistant coach, Oakland Raiders
Speaking of physical altercations, how about turning a coach’s roundtable session into an MMA event? Assistant coach Randy Hanson landed in the hospital with a broken jaw after allegedly falling off his chair and smacking his face against a table. Other sources reported that head coach Tom Cable first threatened Hanson, then connected on a roundhouse that would have made Mohammad Ali proud.
Hanson didn’t want to press charges, but a report filed with the Napa Valley Police department clearly names Cable as the culprit. Further investigation revealed that Cable had anger management issues with both a former wife and girlfriend. The NFL finally got involved, and their subsequent findings absolved Cable of all blame.
Moral of the story? Pay attention during a coach’s lecture. And don’t sit atop a wobbly stool.
The “Insult to Injury” Award:
Plaxico Burress, (former) WR, New York Giants
When teammate Steve Smith was robbed at gunpoint four days earlier, a fearful Plaxico Burress decided to arm himself prior to entering a New York nightclub. But when the concealed weapon began to slide down the inside of his pants, Plax attempted to retrieve his firearm and suddenly received a hole in his leg for his efforts. Oopsie. Then to make matters worse, Burress checked into the New York-Cornell Hospital as “Harris Smith” and told the staff that he got shot at an Applebees restaurant. Kinda gives “Eating Good in the Neighborhood” a whole new meaning.
The staff wasn’t fooled — how often does a 6' 5" 235 lb. man with a muscular build get shot at Applebees? — and immediately recognized him as the Giant wide receiver. The authorities were summoned, and Burress was ultimately convicted and sentenced to two years in prison for violating New York’s very stringent gun laws. By comparison, former WR Done’ Stall worth was given 30 days probation for killing a pedestrian while driving intoxicated and high on cannabis. And they say our legal system is without merit.
The “Reputation Precedes Himself” Award:
Marvin Harrison, (former) WR, Indianapolis Colts
Marvin Harrison has long had unanimous standing as the classiest man in the NFL. He was always a first-ballot ambassador for everything right the league stood for. So how is it that in April 2008, he was accused of shooting a man outside his own Philadelphia nightclub? Obviously a case of mistaken identity. That is, until ballistics revealed that the bullets were fired from a handgun registered to Harrison, and any and all witnesses refused to come forward. Surely there was an explanation.
You bet. Three months later, the first accuser was shot seven times while sitting in his car, and eventually perished from his injuries. But his dying declaration was that Harrison hired the gunman who shot him. A plethora of investigations could not, to this day, link Harrison to the shootings. But we do know that after the Colts released the future Hall-of-Fame receiver, he fielded not so much as a single offer from another NFL franchise for his services.
Apparently the other 31 clubs already have enough marksmen on their roster.
Randy Setterberg is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and West Coast correspondent to the Gridiron Goose’s NFL Update. He may be reached at NFLupdate@hotmail.com.