Police praise ex-NFL WR Braylon Edwards for saving man’s life during YMCA assault: Reports



Former NFL wide receiver Braylon Edwards intervened to stop an alleged attack on an 80-year-old man in a locker room at a Detroit YMCA on Friday, Farmington Hills police chief Jeff King said, according to multiple reports.

“If it wasn’t for that intervention, we could very easily be talking about someone’s death,” King said.

The incident occurred when an exchange of words between a 20-year-old man, identified as Malik Ali Smith, and the 80-year-old man turned into a physical fight, which left the 80-year-old in critical but stable condition at a local hospital, police said.

Smith was arrested after fleeing the gym. On Monday, authorities charged Smith with assault with intent to murder, which carries a maximum sentence of life in prison. He was given a $250,000 cash bond and is being held at Oakland County Jail in Michigan, according to the Washington Post.

“It’s being reported that my client is a violent person and that’s simply not the case,” attorney Christopher Quinn II, who is representing Smith, told the Detroit News. “He is a young man and he has a history of mental health issues.”

Edwards, 41, told Detroit station WDIV that he walked into the locker room and overheard an argument about someone playing music too loud.

“I’m not paying attention, it’s none of my business,” Edwards said. “The noise escalates, and then you can hear some pushing and shoving — you know what fighting sounds like — start to hear some tussling, and start to hear some fists. I heard a thud, that’s what got me up. That’s what got me to turn around.”

Edwards said he saw the alleged assailant grab “the back of the victim’s head by the hair, and he was about to slam it down on the counter.” Edwards then said he “grabbed (the younger man), subdued him.”

Edwards said he wasn’t initially aware that he may have saved the older man’s life.

“That’s what you do,” Edwards said. “People go to workout, they have a good time, they live 80 years and this isn’t how they expect for something to maybe take their life.”

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald said in a statement: “This was a vicious, senseless attack. I commend the witness who intervened, and we will seek justice for this victim.”

Edwards, a collegiate star at Michigan, was a first-round pick by the Cleveland Browns in the 2005 draft. He spent eight seasons in the NFL, also playing with the New York Jets, San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks. He compiled 359 catches for 5,522 yards and 40 touchdowns during his career.

(Photo: Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images)





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