By Jason Cole, Yahoo! Sports
November 27, 2007
Cleveland wide receiver Braylon Edwards, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2005 draft, has started to realize his vast potential during his third season in the NFL. He has scored 11 touchdowns this season, tying the most by a Browns receiver since 1963. He has also led the Browns to a 7-4 record and control of their playoff hopes with five games remaining in the season. On Tuesday, however, Edwards hosted his third annual canned food drive. He hosted a pizza party and did motivational speaking for an elementary school class that gathered the most cans:
Cole: So tell me about the drive.
Edwards: We're trying to show the younger kids that it doesn't take a million dollars, it doesn't take being an actor or a football player to help somebody, to help somebody less fortunate than you are. By just bringing in a can, you're helping somebody and you get excited. Then you might bring in five cans tomorrow or you'll ask your mom, 'Do we have any extra cans?' Then maybe you might take your own money and you find out a can of food isn't that much.
It doesn't cost that much to help. Now, you have a competition within that and they're so excited. They're excited for two reasons. Number one, it's competition and everybody wants to win, and number two, they're helping somebody. Win, lose or draw, you've helped somebody and that's a great feeling. They're kids, they don't have a thousand dollars or a million dollars, but they can be part of something really good.
Cole: How does the pizza party go?
Edwards: It's great because you can just sit down with them, say, 'Hey, how you all doing?' But you can also sit down with them and just talk with them. This year will be a pizza party, but they'll be more asking questions, seeing how they're really doing, talking to them about motivational stuff, seek them out more.
Cole: How many schools do the competition?
Edwards: It's 30 schools and it's every home room in every school. So that's 30 schools times however many home rooms they have, so it's pretty big.
Cole: How many years have you done it?
Edwards: This will be the third year. I started it my first season, my rookie year. It's all grades, first through eighth.
Cole: Who won last year?
Edwards: It was a sixth-grade class.
Cole: What kind of questions do they ask you?
Edwards: It's not too hard, just some regular stuff. The girls asked, 'Do you have a girlfriend.' The boys say, 'I can check you, I'm better than you.' It's all in fun.
Cole: Any of them big enough to check you?
Edwards (smiles): No, they're just playing with me.
Cole: Anything else you do on Tuesdays?
Edwards: No, just rest. That's as much as I can handle.
Cole: (Fellow Cleveland wide receiver Joe) Jurevicius was saying how much better life is now that you guys are winning. He said that people in the grocery store will actually tell him where stuff is instead of sending him to the wrong place. True?
Edwards (laughing): Yeah, life is a lot better right now. We just have to keep it going.
Jason Cole is a national NFL writer for Yahoo! Sports. Follow him on Twitter. Send Jason a question or comment for potential use in a future column or webcast.
Updated on Tuesday, Nov 27, 2007 7:49 pm, EST
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