Wide receiver Braylon Edwards(notes) hasn't been too popular in Cleveland since a combination of bad play and off-field events precipitated a trade to the New York Jets in 2009, but he hasn't forgotten one very important — and expensive — promise he made to that city years ago.
In May of 2007, Edwards, in conjunction with his own foundation, pledged $1 million in scholarship money — 100 scholarships each in the amount of $10,000 — to students in the Cleveland Municipal School District after the students and their parents signed a pledge that the students would complete at least 15 hours of annual community service and maintain a grade point average of 2.5 or higher. Those students were also given help from tutors and workshops through the process via Edwards' ADVANCE 100 program.
Years later, and despite the fact that he's been persona non grata in Cleveland for years, Edwards is following through on the process and cutting some very big checks for the furtherance of those educations. From his Twitter account on May 25:
Of course, Edwards' claim that he's now the second-most hated man in Cleveland is a thinly veiled shot at one LeBron James, and there is some history there. In 2009, Edwards got into it with a friend of James outside a Cleveland nightclub and punched the man, leading to comments from LeBron that Edwards' actions were motivated by jealousy. At the time, and with Edwards' own career stats in a tailspin, Cleveland fans had yet another reason to dislike Edwards. Now, you'd probably find a large group ready to pay to see Edwards taking a shot at LeBron himself, but that's a different matter.
In any case, Edwards should be commended for his actions in this case. He's a free agent in the middle of a lockout, but he hasn't let that uncertainty stop him from keeping a big promise to a lot of people. And for all the jokes about the balls he drops on the field, it's worth noting when Edwards is a stand-up guy where it counts.
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