Braylon Edwards is back where he wanted to be all along.
The Jets signed the veteran wide receiver to a third stint with the team on Wednesday, hoping his savvy routes and large frame will help a group of receivers who have struggled to catch the ball this offseason.
Originally, Edwards was acquired midway through the 2009 season via a trade with the Browns, then left the Jets the next season for stints with the 49ers and Seahawks. Last year, the Jets picked up Edwards late in the season. He played in three games. Now after an offseason of waiting, Edwards was signed again last week.
“It feels like home,” Edwards said. “The people here have always made me feel welcome and I feel like I’ve done my best work here. To be here at Cortland at the start of camp is a blessing.”
Earlier this week, the Jets worked out a number of wide receivers, including veteran Austin Collie, but ended up turning to a very familiar face in Edwards. Edwards is a good down-field blocker, but also a threat in the red zone where he can post up much smaller cornerbacks and safeties with his long frame.
For a while, Edwards wasn’t sure if his second stint with the Jets late last season would be his final one in green and white.
“I’ve been hoping the all offseason. I’ve been preparing as if it was going to happen,” Edwards said. “I’d be a liar if I said I thought it was going to happen this fast. I thought it was going to be a situation to happen later on in camp, possibly. But it happened before camp and I’m here able to start with them. I was pretty surprised.”
Unlike his last two stops with the Jets, things are less clear cut as to who exactly will be throwing him the ball. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, who said on Thursday that “for selfish reasons” he was glad to have Edwards back as a potential target, maintains a close friendship with Edwards but his quarterback competition with rookie Geno Smith will determine if he’s the starter come Week 1.
Closeness or not, Edwards has higher priorities than playing toss and catch with his friend Sanchez.
“I wish him well and I hope he can be a guy, but at the same time, I’m a Jet first so I hope the guy that wins the job is the guy who is going to help us prepare, take us to the next level, the guy that is going to take us to the playoffs [and] get us back to where we belong and hopefully even further,” Edwards said. “Whatever guy that is, that’s the guy I want to win.”
Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.