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On Wednesday, Houston Texans running back Arian Foster tweeted an MRI image of his aggravated hamstring. Under the image, Foster indicated “this is an MRI of my hamstring. The white stuff surrounding the muscle is what is known as anti-awesomeness.” As would be excpected, Foster has received a lot of flak from the media over the last 48 hours for his divulgence of this valuable medical document.
Curiously, on Thursday afternoon, San Fransisco 49ers wide receiver Braylon Edwards found himself in this whole charade. Satiring Arian Foster’s newfound medical definition of “anti-awesomeness,” blogger MJD of Yahoo.com blog The Shutdown Corner posted this mock MRI image of Edwards” hands. Get the joke? To be honest, I didn’t at first. If anything, I was too distracted by the unflattering rendition of Edwards’ pinky finger nails.
I had a faint recollection of Braylon Edwards having a bad reputation for dropping passes earlier in his career. What I remember more clearly is that he didn’t drop a lot of passes in his two seasons as a New York Jet between 2009 and 2010. And what I remember distinctly is that Edwards caught for 100 yards and one touchdown against the Indianapolis Colts in the 2009 AFC Championship, and went on to average 17.2 yards per reception (8th in the NFL) as the Jets’ leading receiver (904 yards) in the 2010 regular season. All of Edwards’ receptions were from still-developing QB Mark Sanchez, and Edwards had to stretch out yardaage on many plays. He performed well in the 2010 playoffs, averaging about 50 yards in three away games in the AFC playoffs. Edwards’ total dropped passes in ’09? 7. Last year: 2.
So, what in the world is this picture referring to, you ask? Three seasons ago in 2008, when Edwards was playing for the Cleveland Browns, he had sixteen dropped passes. Still, here we are in 2011, using Edwards’ unfortunate season as the butt of a joke. His hands, you see, are “unawesome.” Is that mock MRI image really funny? It seems more like a typical snide internet screed. Or, as some online forum members may say, “standard.”
When I think of this mock MRI image, I can’t help but think of another athlete who still has to endure mass infamy for his past – Ron Artest. During the NBA finals in 2009, Artest was the best player on the court during the Lakers’ Game 7 win over the Celtics. Kobe Bryant was having an abysmal night (9-24 shooting), and Pau Gasol, while servicable, was not dominating by any means. It was Artest, unleashing a constant state of defensive havoc on all areas of the court, accumulating a 20-point, 5-steal night, who kept the Lakers in the game when down by double digits early in the 3rd quarter, and who sealed the comeback win with a clutch three-pointer with less than two minutes left. And yet, if you do a Ron Artest search on Google, two of the most heavily searched phrases are still “Artest and fight” and “Artest and brawl”: references to his brawling while with the Indiana Pacers and Detroit’s fans at the end of a 2004 regular season game.
I don’t know – for me, the only search terms I can think of are “Ron Artest and Game 7,” or “Braylon Edwards and 80-yard catch against Indianapolis.” Maybe that’s why I didn’t get MJD’s joke right away.