Former NFL receiver Braylon Edwards is being praised for saving a life in a YMCA attack

Detroit-area police chief Monday praised former NFL player Braylon Edwards for helping save the life of an 80-year-old man who was allegedly assaulted in a YMCA locker room.

The incident, which occurred Friday morning in Farmington Hills, Mich., resulted in the arrest of a 20-year-old man who allegedly ran away from the YMCA following Edwards' intervention. The man, identified as Malik Ali Smith, was charged Monday with assault with intent to murder.

In an interview with the Detroit station on Friday WDIV, when Edwards entered the locker room, “I heard something about four rows behind me, arguing about the music, someone playing music loudly.” The 41-year-old former wide receiver initially paid little attention to the apparent altercation until it turned violent.

“The noise gets louder and then you hear some pushing and shoving — you know what a fight is like — start hearing some fighting noises, start hearing some punches,” Edwards said. “But once I heard a noise, that woke me up. That's what made me look back.

Edwards told the station that he saw the alleged assailant “grab the back of the victim's head by the hair and he was going to drop it on the counter.” The former University of Michigan star said he then moved in and “subdued” the younger man.

The alleged victim, who was not identified by police, was in critical but stable condition at the hospital, police said Monday.

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“As evidenced by the victim's significant injuries, it is clear that Mr. Braylon Edwards' intervention was instrumental in saving the victim's life,” Farmington Hills Police Chief Jeff King said in a statement. “This is a terrible incident, but Mr. Edwards' selfless efforts are the best in our community.”

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The Oakland County Prosecutor's Office said Smith was arraigned Saturday and remained in the county jail Monday after posting a $250,000 bond. A plea of ​​not guilty has been filed on his behalf, police said. If convicted, he could be sentenced to life in prison.

Smith's attorney said Detroit News: “My client is reported to be a violent person, which is not the case. He is a young man and has a history of mental health issues.

“This was a brutal, senseless attack,” Oakland County Prosecutor Karen MacDonald said in a statement. “I appreciate the witness who intervened, and we will seek justice for this victim.”

A news release Friday from Farmington police, which did not identify Edwards, described him as a “good Samaritan” who stepped in to “stop the suspect in the midst of a vicious attack.”

Michigan's all-time leader in catches (252), receiving yards (3,541) and receiving touchdowns (39), Edwards was selected third overall by the Cleveland Browns in the 2005 NFL Draft. Traded to the Jets midway through the 2009 season, he helped New York reach back-to-back AFC Championship games.

Edwards signed with the San Francisco 49ers in 2011 and played with the Seattle Seahawks the following season before briefly returning to the Jets to finish his NFL career. The 2007 Pro Bowl selection finished with 359 catches for 5,522 yards and 40 touchdowns.

A native of Detroit, Edwards retires as a resident of West Bloomfield Township. “That's what you do,” Friday said of the lauded life-saving intervention.

“At the end of the day,” Edwards said said Monday on social media, “I did the right thing like many good people in this world.”

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