Braylon Edwards' team-imposed suspension was brief. The fallout over his drunken-driving arrest will continue.
Edwards had two catches — both significant — for the New York Jets on Sunday night, helping them beat the Miami Dolphins 31-23. He was barred from playing during the first quarter, a team-issued penalty over his drunken-driving arrest in Manhattan five days earlier.
On the field, he didn't disappoint.
Edwards had a 67-yard touchdown catch in the third quarter, a big 20-yard grab on third down with 4½ minutes left to aid the Jets' game-sealing drive, and for good measure drew a pass interference penalty against Dolphins cornerback Jason Allen in the final minutes to give New York a first down at the Miami 1.
"My big thing tonight is just appreciation of the organization that will still ride with me in the situation that I was able to help in a nice victory," Edwards said. "Like I said, this is a huge victory for the New York Jets."
For a few moments, anyway, his play may have taken attention away from a week he'd surely like to have back.
"Well, clearly, he had a big impact," Jets coach Rex Ryan said.
Still, the early response from some around the league — notably former Indianapolis coach Tony Dungy — was that the Jets didn't go far enough in sanctioning the talented yet often troublesome Edwards.
Dungy, now an analyst for NBC Sports, met with Ryan on Saturday. They chatted about a number of issues, Edwards among them.
"He told me he felt Braylon had been punished enough," Dungy said on NBC before the game. "He'd been embarrassed in the media, he's going to lose money in free agency, so he didn't feel he had to pile on him. I don't necessarily agree with that. I think you have to discipline players. ... I wasn't worried about the collective bargaining agreement when I coached."
Cris Collinsworth, who was calling the game for NBC, was more succinct.
"I would have suspended him for this game because of a pattern of behavior," Collinsworth said on NBC's pregame show, citing the fact that Edwards was with Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth later drove drunk and killed a pedestrian in Miami.
"My question, to me, would have been, 'When are you going to understand this?'" Collinsworth continued. "When are you going to understand you've got to take responsibility? And from this football team's standpoint, they would have been better served had they gone ahead and suspended him for this one game."
The Jets met before the game and decided a one-quarter banishing was the appropriate punishment. And as soon as the scoreboard clock showed :00 remaining in the first quarter, Edwards skipped onto the field.
"We've made our disappointment clear to Braylon," Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said in a statement released by the team about 90 minutes before kickoff. "Now he must deal with the consequences of his actions as the legal process runs its course, and the league will determine the appropriate discipline under the guidelines of the collective bargaining agreement."
Edwards said he wasn't worried about the chance of further sanctions.
Game night simply allowed him to forget his issues and think about football for a while. And his touchdown catch in the third quarter was almost too easy.
Allen lined up about 10 yards off the line of scrimmage. Edwards caught a short pass from Mark Sanchez, turned around and simply slipped away from the Dolphins' cornerback — then took off untouched down the left sideline for his sixth touchdown in five games against Miami.
Call it an on-field mea culpa.
"Jason Allen slipped," Edwards said.
Edwards apologized Wednesday for creating the distraction. He could have taken advantage of two programs — one run by the Jets, one by the NFL Players Association — that are aimed at preventing players from driving when they are too impaired to do so safely.
He sat out the Jets' first 17 plays, in which they rolled up 131 yards.
"He misses 17 plays," NBC's Al Michaels said as Edwards took the field for the second quarter. "They hardly missed him."
Edwards was arraigned Tuesday after a breath test showed he had a blood-alcohol level twice the legal limit when he was stopped, prosecutors said. Jets owner Woody Johnson said he told Edwards that his behavior was unacceptable.