Berea, OH - Empty hangers, a pair of shoulder pads, one penny and a single blade of grass were all that remained in the corner stalls in Cleveland's locker room.
Those spaces were previously occupied by the team's most animated player and biggest talent.
Braylon Edwards was gone - just like that.
Browns coach Eric Mangini doesn't tolerate troublemakers.
``This is a business and the business is winning,'' Pro Bowl offensive tackle Joe Thomas said. ``And the man in charge is going to decide if you're helping us win.
``If you're not, you're going to be gone.''
Mangini traded Edwards, the high-maintenance wide receiver whose five seasons in Cleveland were marked by sensational catches, crucial drops and off-the-field issues, to the New York Jets on Wednesday for wide receiver Chansi Stuckey, linebacker Jason Trusnik and two undisclosed draft choices.
ing a friend of NBA superstar LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub. Mangini shipped Edwards to his unbeaten former team, which has been looking for a No. 1 target for talented rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez.
A deal involving Edwards has been rumored for months, but it was met with shock by some Browns players still coming to grips with Mangini's methods.
``I was very surprised when I heard,'' linebacker D'Qwell Jackson said. ``Braylon had his troubles here - whatever issues he had - with the organization. You never know, and that's the reality of this business. Coach Mangini has a way that he does things. We have to keep doing what we're doing and understand that everybody has to work.
``Everybody has a job to do and everyone's replaceable.''
Mangini wouldn't say if Edwards' alleged altercation, which came hours after he failed to catch a pass for the first time in 62 career NFL games, played a part in the timing of his trade.
He didn't have to.
``Personal conduct is important to me,'' Mangini said.
Mangini said Edwards did not ask to be traded and that they had a good conversation before parting ways.
``This is a fresh start for him,'' Mangini said. ``In terms of what we were able to do with the trade, it's good for us.''
s struck with the Jets, who fired him in January after three years as their head coach. On draft day, Mangini sent them the No. 5 pick, which they used to draft Sanchez.
Before dealing Edwards, Mangini said he discussed the move with owner Randy Lerner. He also said the Browns had other opportunities to move Edwards.
``Contrary to popular belief, we do trade with teams other than the Jets, and we do talk to teams other than the Jets,'' he said. ``You move forward based on that.''
In trading the dissatisfied Edwards, Mangini sent another message to his players: Play by my rules or else.
Mangini previously traded tight end Kellen Winslow, who like Edwards, let his ego get in the way of team goals. Still, the pair were Cleveland's best offensive weapons, combining for 162 catches, 2,395 yards and 21 touchdowns in 2007, when both made the Pro Bowl.
Quarterback Derek Anderson disputed the idea that Edwards and Winslow were a two-headed monster.
``I wouldn't say they were always a problem,'' he said. ``Everybody has issues in their life. They weren't here raising heck day in and day out. Both of them are really good football players, and will continue to do good things in their careers.''
off during a meeting.
But rules are rules and linebacker David Bowens, one of 10 former Jets that Mangini has brought from New York, said players need to understand there will be penalties for misbehavior.
``It's not like it's a total dictatorship around here,'' he said.
Thomas believes it should be clear by now that Mangini and his coaching staff mean what they say.
``That's been the message since he got here, you're gonna do things the way you're supposed to do it and told to do it, and if you're not then we'll find somebody else,'' he said.
Edwards was walking a thin line with Mangini long before he allegedly punched James' friend in the face. The NFL and Cleveland police are still investigating the incident.
Edwards was out partying in March with suspended wide receiver Donte Stallworth the night Stallworth drove drunk and killed a pedestrian in Miami. Edwards was an irregular participant in Mangini's offseason programs and missed part of mini-camp and training camp with an ankle injury he sustained while playing basketball.
Before Mangini's arrival, Edwards' list of transgressions was growing nearly as fast as his stat sheet of 100-yard receiving games.
He argued with teammates and criticized coaches. He chartered a helicopter in 2006 to attend the Ohio State-Michigan game despite being told not to go. He severely cut his heel while running in his socks after practice. Last year, he pleaded guilty to driving 120 mph.
He's gone. Not forgotten.
As he headed out to practice, backup quarterback Brady Quinn pointed to his shiny orange cleats - a pair left behind by Edwards.
``In honor of Braylon,'' he said.
Posted: 10/7/09 10:45PM ET