Patriots star receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement in a video posted on social media Monday, just hours after reports that the team terminated his contract for a “failed physical.”
The 12-year veteran helped New England win three championships and was the MVP of Super Bowl LIII.
The NFL transaction wire released Monday shows that the Patriots had terminated his contract, but ESPN reports the roster move may be a technicality as part of his retirement.
In 2020, Edelman had offseason knee surgery.
“Nothing in my career has ever come easy, and no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy either,” he said in a video posted to his Twitter. “I’ve always said, ‘I’ll go until the wheels come off.’ And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I’ll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football.”
Edelman, 34, said it is an honor to be retiring a Patriot. “Foxboro Forever,” he says at the end of the video.
Edelman ends his career in second place on the all-time Patriots chart for receptions with 620, behind only Wes Welker, who has 672 receptions.
He is fourth on the team’s career receiving yards list with 6,822, behind only Stanley Morgan (10,352), Rob Gronkowski (7,861) and Welker (7,459), per ESPN.
Edelman totaled 58 rushing attempts for 413 yards throughout his career — the most rushing attempts and rushing yards by a wide receiver in Patriots history.
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career — wins, championships, production — Julian has it all,” Belichick said in a team statement. “Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out.”
The Patriots selected Edelman in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft with the 232rd overall pick.