From Pro Bowl appearances to injuries and contract holdouts, Braylon Edwards, wide receiver for the Cleveland Browns, has had his fair share of ups and downs. But off the field, Edwards has been one of the most consistent athletes in giving back to the community.
According to Reuters, Detroit has a 38% high school graduation rate and his adopted hometown of Cleveland is at 34%. These are two of the lowest rates in the country.
These dismal graduation rates and Edwards’ own struggles in high school motivated him to get involved in helping the youth of these two cities. Edwards’ father, Stan Edwards, had a successful career in the NFL, but even with all the opportunities his father’s success afforded him, and his natural talent, he struggled in school.
“I went Southeast high school, I wasn’t necessarily doing what I was supposed to do freshmen year,” said Edwards. With the help of a teammate who told him he was going down the wrong path, he decided to get focused on his schoolwork and football.
Now, Edwards is active in giving back through the Braylon Edwards Foundation, launching programs like the Advance 100, a program that aims to provide 100 eighth grade students from Cleveland with academic scholarships of $10,000 a piece upon completion of their senior year in high school.
Edwards also teamed up with “Feed The Children” to provide 400 boxes of food and personal care to families in Detroit, hosted the Women Moving Forward and Reaching Back Awards Brunch at the Detroit institute of Arts. Education remains one of top priorities as evidenced by the donation of a $500,000 scholarship to his alma mater, the University of Michigan.
“Not everyone can play in the NFL, NBA or record albums…even players in the league need education after sports. Education is the key,” said Edwards.