By SHELLEY NG
3:01 PM EDT, September 22, 2010
NEW YORK (WPIX)
New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards broke his silence Wednesday, apologizing to his family and the Jets franchise for his drunk driving arrest that happened a day earlier.
"I would like to apologize to my family, my fans, Mr. Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan and my teammates. I will respect the process that is in place and will fully cooperate with the league," Edwards said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon, making his first comments on Tuesday's arrest.
"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."
The statement comes a day after Edwards was released without bail after being held on drunk driving charges. According to police, the star wide receiver was arrested after flunking a Breathalyzer test, registering a 0.16 -- twice the state's legal limit. Edwards, who was behind the wheel of a Range Rover with four other passengers, was pulled over by police at 5:15 a.m. Tuesday on the corner of 34th Street and 12th Avenue for driving erratically and having overly-tinted windows, police sources said.
Officers said they smelled alcohol, which prompted them to administer a sobriety test on Edwards.
Edwards, 27, was charged with operating a vehicle while intoxicated, a misdemeanor, and operating a vehicle while impaired, a violation. He is due back in court on November 7, and if convicted, the Jets' No. 17 could face up to a year in jail.
PIX 11 News exclusively obtain Edwards' NYPD mug shot Tuesday morning.
"He's really anxious to get back to the Jets," Edwards' lawyer Peter Frankel told reporters outside of court Tuesday. "He understands the seriousness of the situation ... He's committed to getting back on the football field."
It wasn't immediately clear if his team was ready to receive him with open arms, as Jets General Manager Mike Tannenbaum expressed disappointment in the star wide receiver.
"We are very disappointed in Braylon's actions this morning. The Player Protect program is in place for our organization to prevent this situation. Braylon is aware of this program and showed poor judgment," Tannenbaum said in a statement Tuesday.
"We are reviewing the information with the league and will impose the appropriate disciplinary measures."
Tannenbaum also noted that Jets players are afforded the option to use a car service to bring them home if they are out drinking.
Edwards will not start in the Jets' upcoming Sunday night game against the Miami Dolphins, but will be in uniform and active on the bench. The NFL may also deliver him a suspension for violating league policies on alcohol and player conduct.
Among the four other passengers in the vehicle with Edwards on Tuesday were two teammates -- starting left tackle D'Brickshaw Ferguson and defensive end Vernon Gholston. Neither players were charged and their actions did not warrant punishment from Tannenbaum and Jets Head Coach Rex Ryan.
Edwards, a Detroit native, is a newcomer to the Jets, and previously played for the Cleveland Browns from 2005 to 2009.
Tuesday's incident is not Edwards' first brush with the alcohol-related crimes.
In July 2009, Edwards was drinking with then-fellow Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth at a Miami hotel and nightclub, racking up a bill of totalling $3,443, which included $1,500 on Perrier-Jouet Rose champagne and $695 on Grey Goose vodka. Stallworth's credit card receipts showed he sent a $375 bottle of Patron Silver to Edwards' table, and ordered five shots of the tequila for $90.
After their night of drinking, Stallworth fatally struck 59-year-old pedestrian Mario Reyes with his vehicle. Stallworth was sentenced to 30 days in jail after pleading guilty to DUI manslaughter and suspended from the team.
Additionally, before Edwards was traded to Gang Green in October 2009, he punched a friend of then-Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James outside a nightclub. He later pleaded no contest to the aggrevated assault charge. Edwards received a $1,000 fine, suspended 180-day jail sentence and 18-months of probation.
Edwards' probation began in January, and depending on the outcome of his drunk driving charges, he may have to return to Cleveland to face possible probation violation and jail time.
Last week, the Jets were accused of sexually harrassing TV Azteca reporter Ines Sainz as she was trying to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez in the locker room and deliberately hurling footballs at her during interception drills.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall eventually ruled the Jets behaved unprofessionally but did not commit sexual harrassment. Jets owner Woody Johnson apologized to Sainz on behalf of the team.
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