Braylon Edwards has a weekly radio show on 97.1 FM the Ticket in Detroit during college football season. Last week, he took the entire hour to air his personal beefs with Jim Harbaugh.
Edwards offered his analysis of Michigan’s destruction of Florida, which ran contrary to the opinion of every national analyst.
Edwards thought Wolverines quarterback Wilton Speight played poorly against the Gators and took a shot at Harbaugh, sarcastically calling him the “quarterback whisperer.” He lamented the lack of improvement he’s seen in Speight and backup John O’Korn, going out of his way on multiple occasions to take shots and blame their lack of development on Harbaugh.
I cannot disagree that Speight and O’Korn aren’t the future of Michigan football, but at this point you have to believe Harbaugh knows what he’s doing with his quarterbacks more so than an arm-chair former wide receiver.
“I think he (Harbaugh) is trying to trick Speight into thinking he’s a better QB than he is,” Edwards said.
Huh? Can anyone explain that analysis to me?
Edwards went on to criticize Michigan’s Rashan Gary, calling him “out of shape” and claiming Gary “took plays off” in the opener. This assertion is ridiculous to anybody who watched the game and ironic coming from a guy who was notorious for taking games off as a player at Michigan and later in the NFL. Edwards’ friends and family have confided in me over the years that he never reached his potential because he is a “lazy knucklehead.”
Sophomore wide receiver Kekoa Crawford’s No. 1 jersey was another point of contention for Edwards. He isn’t thrilled that Harbaugh lets a defensive player wear that number and he certainly doesn’t want Crawford wearing it. Edwards may still be upset that he didn’t get to wear No. 1 until he was a junior, but he should understand that the number is a recruiting tool and can often be instrumental in bringing elite players to Ann Arbor.
Braylon Edwards has long been a malcontent.
I have heard from sources familiar with Edwards in Ann Arbor that he wanted a coaching position with the Wolverines, but wasn’t offered one by Harbaugh. I’m also told Edwards is upset that Michigan didn’t offer his kid brother Berkley Edwards a scholarship. Berkley Edwards eventually signed with Minnesota before transferring to Central Michigan.
As you can see, Edwards lives in a constant state of discontent; he thinks he should be a legend in Ann Arbor and it just has not happened. He’s one of the great players in Michigan football history, but when you add up the good and the bad, it seems that the bad wins out.
Despite his success, there remains a group of ex-Wolverines, most notably Edwards and former safety Marcus Ray, who have nothing positive to say about Harbaugh. They usually stop short of criticizing him, but there is clearly an undercurrent among a few Lloyd Carr era players that maybe Harbaugh wasn’t their first choice to lead the program.
A division exists among the ranks of former Michigan football players. Bo Schembechler’s players support Harbaugh, while Lloyd’s players don’t. That was obvious when Lloyd tried to keep Schembechler disciple Les Miles out of the picture following his retirement.
This negativity and backbiting was one of the reasons Rich Rodriguez was dead on arrival in Ann Arbor – the Lloyd Carr era players were not on board with Rich Rod. Lloyd’s players loved Brady Hoke, but he simply couldn’t coach.
It was at that point that the descendants of Bo retook the program, helping to install Harbaugh.
Like Schembechler, Harbaugh is strong and successful enough to keep the warring factions at bay. His force of personality can prevent Carr’s players from doing any damage to the program as they did behind Rich Rod’s back and just like with Bo should Harbaugh ever leave, the inmates would once again be running the asylum.
(You can follow Gregg Henson on Twitter @gregghenson)