Julian Edelman, former Patriots wideout and Super Bowl MVP, appears to finally be stepping away from the NFL after a string of injuries that have caught up after twelve seasons.
Playing up to age 34 as Tom Brady’s primary target for the majority of the 2010s, Edelman’s tenacity and impressive physicality as an undersized slot receiver have solidified him as not only an all-time Patriot, but a potential Hall of Famer in the near future.
Drafted in the seventh round by the New England Patriots in 2009, the receiver’s outlook toward the future after this last season took a big hit once Tom Brady left New England for Tampa, eventually winning the Super Bowl with the Buccaneers.
On April 12, 2021, Edelman announced his retirement after a failed physical proved cause for termination from the team. In his final season with New England, Edelman reached a career-high (179) in receiving yards during his matchup against the Seahawks in Week 2 and played a total of six games. He ended the season with 315 yards and two receiving touchdowns.
In an interview on the Pat McAfee Show, Edelman recounted the costly injuries that led him to his decision after what initially appeared as a maneuver to land on the Bucs with Brady:
Julian shared the beatings he took in the league throughout his career and physical status as it currently stands: “I’m just like most guys that have knee problems, I’m just bone on bone. And also, my medial side is just worn out because I tore a PCL years ago and you don’t repair those. So, then you just get this lag in your (tibia-fibula) and then I’m bow legged so you’re just going over years, years, years of grinding.”
Edelman received Super Bowl MVP honors during the 2018-2019 playoffs when the Patriots faced the Los Angeles Rams in a 13-3 victory. Edelman recorded 10 catches for 141 yards against the Rams.
He has a combined 21 injuries in his official injury report, including an ACL tear, four concussions, and a fractured left foot.
Now that the conversation has fully shifted into Hall of Famer contention for the former Patriots receiver, the legacy left by Edelman is an inspiration to many based on his determined mind working in tandem with a broken body. The two created an even yoke within the undersized receiver that ignored adversity in favor of true grit. He has a combine 6,822 receiving yards
Not a first-ballot Hall of Famer to many, but a favorite among current NFL fans that will surely pass on his body of work.