NEW YORK - New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor drunken driving charge on Friday in exchange for a six-month suspension of his driver's license and continued participation in an NFL-sponsored drug treatment program.
The soon-to-be free agent also will pay a $500 fine and must install an ignition interlock device that prevents the car from being started unless the driver passes an on-the-spot breath test proving he is sober.
"I feel like it came to a fair conclusion," Edwards said following the hearing in Manhattan Criminal Court.
The plea deal comes 10 months after Edwards, 28, was stopped in Manhattan in the early morning when police noticed excessive window tinting on his car. When the officers smelled alcohol, they administered a breath test and charged him with drunken driving.
The plea arrives a day after NFL owners voted to accept a new collective bargaining agreement, moving closer to ending the four-month lockout that has paralyzed the professional football league.
The players could approve the contract as soon as Friday and the free agency period could begin next week.
Edwards said he can now negotiate a new contract without the case hanging over his head.
"I'm glad we got this resolved before the free agency period officially opened," said Edwards, who added he "most definitely" would prefer to remain in New York with the Jets.
His lawyer, Peter Frankel, had said for months that Edwards was prepared to go to trial and challenge the police administered breath test results. But he said he and Edwards had decided Friday's plea deal was acceptable.
Frankel also touted Edwards' philanthropic efforts, including a pledge to pay $10,000 of college tuition for 100 Cleveland students, a total of $1 million, after they kept up their grades throughout high school. Edwards played his first NFL seasons with the Cleveland Browns, who traded him to the Jets in the 2009 season.