Braylon Edwards was the third overall pick to Cleveland in 2005. The same year, the Browns signed Joshua Cribbs as an undrafted free agent. The two spent more than four seasons together on the practice field, in the locker room, in the meeting room. But when Cribbs was asked about Edwards this week, his initial response was, "Who?"
Edwards had a rocky relationship with the Browns and the city of Cleveland. He was traded in 2009 to the Jets two days after allegedly punching out a friend of then-Cavaliers star LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub, one of several flaps in which he was involved while with the Browns. Edwards admitted to having a "bitter taste in my mouth" when he returned to Cleveland as a Jet last year. This year he says he's more relaxed about potentially facing the Browns, in part because the game is in San Francisco, not Cleveland.
"They gave me an opportunity," Edwards said. "They drafted me in the first round of 2005. I'm very grateful to that society and their organization for taking a chance. We had some good times, we had some bad times, as you do in life. But I hold no grudges toward anybody there and I still have some friends toward that area."
Cribbs' cryptic comments, however, seem to indicate that time hasn't healed all wounds when it comes to Edwards. Thanks to the Akron Beacon-Journal for supplying the transcript.
Q: Can you describe the experience of playing with Braylon Edwards?
Cribbs: "Who?" - long pause.
Q: You know, B17
Cribbs: "He's on IR, isn't he?"
Q: No, he's expected to be back this week. What was your experience playing with him for a few years?
Cribbs: (Takes a couple breaths). "Ummmm, it was, uh, entertaining. It was really entertaining because my first year, I came in with him. (He was) drafted high and he tore his ACL his first year. He came back and had a Pro Bowl year. So I mean, he made a lot of good catches that second year when he came back when he had something to prove. Then, you know, it was just entertaining from there. Like, him and (tight end) Kellen Winslow (Jr.) caught a lot of balls and entertained on the field and off the field. That's all I have to say about that." (Note: Edwards made the Pro Bowl his third season in the league, 2007).
There will be a lot of familiar faces on the Cleveland sideline Sunday. Browns starting safety Mike Adams originally was signed by the 49ers as an undrafted free agent out of Delaware in 2004. He started 18 games for San Francisco in 2005 and 2006. Tackle Tony Pashos (on Cleveland's injury report) was with San Francisco in 2009. Cribbs, meanwhile, was Vernon Davis' quarterback at Dunbar High in Washington, D.C.
Linebacker Scott Fujita and center Alex Mack played at Cal. Tight end Alex Smith and fullback Owen Marecic played at Stanford. Jim Harbaugh said that one of his draft day regrets was that Marecic went elsewhere. However, the fullback the 49ers ended up getting in the seventh round, Bruce Miller, has been pretty good.
-- Matt Barrows