The 49ers have been at training camp for eight days thus far, but yesterday was arguably the most important day of camp to date. After the whirlwind of transactions the last three days, the 49ers welcomed all their veteran free agents to camp following the ratification of the new ten year CBA. We have labor peace until 2020, but more importantly, we have full-on football at training camp.
Although the 49ers welcome a host of players to practice, the big news surrounded the addition of Braylon Edwards. The talented wide receiver has had his shares of mixups off the field, but as the oldest skill position player now on the time, he might very well find himself in a bit of a leadership role. Vernon Davis will likely remain the primary vocal offensive leader, but Edwards sounds like he has the confidence to join Davis in such a role.
I've got some more comments, but the Braylon Edwards transcript is also after the jump.
Edwards discussed how he is coming in to compete and thinks he can be a big weapon for the team. The 49ers have some talented young receivers, and adding Braylon Edwards to the mix gives the 49ers arguably as many weapons as they've had in nearly a decade. Edwards is the only receiver on the 49ers roster to record a 1,000-yard season as the 49ers look to achieve that number for the first time since 2003.
One of the big pluses to bringing Edwards in is the fact that responsibility no longer falls on a select few in the passing game. This opens things up considerably when you've got Edwards, Michael Crabtree, Josh Morgan, Kyle Williams, Ronald Johnson, Vernon Davis, Delanie Walker, and of course all three running backs.
The start of the season might have a bit of a hiccup as Edwards apparently might be looking at a brief suspension for a September 2010 DWI case. Edwards apparently has yet to hear from the commissioner, but now that he's on a team I have to think Goodell will come calling shortly. Under the new CBA, Goodell apparently retains his iron-fisted power when it comes to the conduct policy.
Although some might worry about the off-the-field issues with Edwards, it actually sounds like San Francisco could prove to be the perfect choice for him. His father played football at Michigan and is apparently close enough to Jim Harbaugh that Harbaugh has known Braylon for a long time. Who knows how it will all play out over the coming season, but I feel optimistic because of the existing relationship between Harbaugh and Edwards. Maybe things won't work out and Edwards will be cut before the season even starts. I prefer to view this situation as glass half full. We'll just have to see how it plays out.
WR Braylon Edwards
Press Conference - August 4, 2011
San Francisco 49ers
On whether he thought he would play for the 49ers when he visited the team facility prior to the 2005 NFL Draft:
"Back then, I was thinking it was possible. I thought there was a chance that I could go first to this team and [former head coach] Mike Nolan's team, but it didn't happen. But I'm here now, so everything happens for a reason."
On whether he remembered his previous visit in 2005 when he arrived at the 49ers facility on Wednesday:
"I did, actually. Nothing really has changed here with the exception of some players and some coaches, except the cafeteria and the players' lounge, everything else was the same. I kind of went through the same process, even ate at the same restaurant, so it was kind of like back down memory lane."
On which restaurant he went to dinner Wednesday night and back in 2005:
On why he signed with the 49ers:
"I had some great talks with them on Monday and it just seemed like a good change of scenery. I've known [head] Coach [Jim] Harbaugh pretty much my whole life. He and my father played together so I thought that was another plus. And then I thought it'd be a great change, a rebuilding team that has a lot of talent, has a lot of ability but just hasn't crossed over yet and I think I can be a part of that and I would love to be a part of helping this team out."
On what he sees on this team that makes him believe they can be successful:
"Well teams that are successful, they have multiple weapons. They don't just have one guy that they throw the ball to or get the ball to, so now you're looking at a situation where it can be [TE] Vernon Davis, you have [TE Delanie] Walker, you have... [QB] Alex Smith has more options now. He has [WR Michael] Crabtree, he has [WR Joshua] Morgan, he has [WR] Ted Ginn [Jr.], so, and [RB] Frank Gore in the backfield, so now he has more weapons and you have a system that they brought in that's proven. It's proven with the Saints. It's proven with the Seattle Seahawks. It's been proven with the Raiders when they went to Super Bowl. So now you have a proven system and you have some consistency for Alex. I think the big thing that people don't pay attention to, I mean you guys do, you've been out here with him, is the different coordinators that he had. I want to say it's been eight or nine or something like that. The teams that are proficient are consistent and if you put him in a situation that can be consistent with players, I think he can thrive."
On head coach Jim Harbaugh saying he wants him to get back to how he was trained and groomed at Michigan:
"I think he's hitting the nail on the head. I think I've put myself in some situations that I'm to blame for and coming out here is a good, fresh start to get a clean, fresh slate with people that I trust, with the team that supported me through what they know I'm going through and that's enough for me. And I look at yesterday is yesterday and today is today as moving forward in the future and that's what I want to do, and like you said, back to what we were both taught when he played there. When I played there we were taught how to be accountable, responsible, know right from wrong and that's what I want to get back to, being the guy that can be accountable, that can be respected and be put in position to thrive here and to be a responsible guy for this organization."
On whether he knew anyone else in the organization other than head coach Jim Harbaugh:
"I knew Ted Ginn. I know Vernon Davis. I head there's another guy we signed that I know well. I know [CB] Carlos [Rogers]. I know [C] Jonathan Goodwin, who we signed, so I am familiar with some faces on this team. There are a lot of faces that I don't know but everybody was very welcoming and receiving today, so I think it's going to be a good situation. I look forward to learning everybody."
On how he knows those guys:
"I hosted Ted Ginn when he was looking at Michigan, played against him. Vernon Davis and I have met through family and friends in the off season. Jonathan Goodwin, played at Michigan with him. Carlos Rogers and I met throughout the whole draft process. Alex Smith and I were everywhere together throughout the draft process, as to who would be number one, obviously it was him so he's here. So I know people through off season, draft process, family and school."
On whether he's spoken to commissioner Roger Goodell:
"I have not spoken to commissioner Goodell yet and I don't know what his ruling will be on the situation. Obviously, myself and the team hopes that there will be none, but if there is one, then I respect it and I will gladly take it and once it's over with, move forward and look to help this team be good this year."
On whether it was important for him to get out on the field and practice on the first day:
"It was. I'm trying to start now. Why wait? Why sit around or be in the locker room or sit and watch? It felt good today and it's good to learn. It's one thing to read a playbook and go through some plays and film, but it's another thing to actually get a chance to watch it live or actually go through some reps, which I had a chance today. It felt good to be out there. I saw a lot of talent. I really never looked at the 49ers, being honest, so I didn't know the talent level that they had. Seeing what I saw today, there's a lot of talent on this team. There's a chance for something special to happen this year."
On when the 49ers jumped on his radar:
"I would say Monday. Monday we had good talks. Tuesday we talked about a visit. Wednesday the visit happened and Thursday, here I am at the podium. But probably Monday."
On currently wearing number 81 and whether that is a number he wants to stick with:
"Listen here, that number is temporary. Seventeen is being used right now and I'm trying to figure out how that's going to work for the season, but81 is temporary and I'm trying to look for a new number. I'm not trying to be known as the next him or anything related to him, and maybe not even 17. Maybe a fresh start means a fresh number, so 81 is temporary and when the time is right, I'll find the number that I'll be wearing."
On what he was told his role on the team would be:
"Looking at it in the receivers' room, I'm the oldest guy in the room. Which, I realize I'm getting older now, I guess I have to accept that. Just helping the guys out. Obviously, those guys have a lot of talent and they've made a lot of plays. I've looked at film and I've seen Josh Morgan, and I've seen what Crabtree can do. I've seen Ted Ginn, I've played against Ted Ginn. I see the ability they have. My role is to maybe just compete with those guys and make those guys that much better. But make no bones about it, I'm here to be the guy. I'm here to make plays. I'm here to compliment whoever's on the other side or whoever's inside, which would be Vernon. I didn't come to accept the choir robe. I'm here to make some noise. I'll definitely look to do all I can to help those guys along the way."
On the situation he was in Monday night and whether he would like to clear anything up:
"That situation's taken care of itself. It's not really for me to address right now. At the end of the day that situation will take care of itself. I'm sure of that 100 percent. I'm just here to be a 49er and just try to make plays and help this franchise out."