New England Patriots: Julian Edelman’s relentlessness is HOF worthy

ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 30: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots stretches during Super Bowl LIII practice at Georgia Tech Brock Practice Facility on January 30, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - JANUARY 30: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots stretches during Super Bowl LIII practice at Georgia Tech Brock Practice Facility on January 30, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

Is New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman a Hall-of-Famer? While his numbers may be up for debate, there is no doubt his relentless nature is worthy.

One would never classify New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman as a diva.  In the age of flashy wide receivers with bigger than life personas, the former Kent State quarterback has given a new definition to the position through hard work and a relentlessness that has carried the team through time and time again.

A future Hall-of-Famer?

Well, let the debate begin.  There is no question, however, that the man who has earned the nickname “minitron” is a player who has made his mark in Patriots history.  I’ll take it further and say he has made his mark in NFL history.

So, you can have Antonio Brown or Odell Beckham Jr.  Great receivers who can change the game on one play on any given drive, but neither of those players galvanize their team on and off the field the way Edelman does.  You can go back to the two last Super Bowl victories for proof of that.

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Just 5-foot-10 and 198 pounds, Julian Edelman plays the game way bigger than he is.  As a player not afraid to go over the middle and take contact, No. 11 has emerged as one of the most reliable receivers in all the NFL.  Continuing the streamline of great slot receivers that include Troy Brown and Wes Welker, Edelman is simply the little engine that makes the New England Patriots offense go.

Although Tom Brady and the offense were able to get by without him through the entire 2017 NFL season, there was no doubt he was missed on and off the field.

During that season, Danny Amendola was able to play the part quite well, but the fiery nature and that relentlessness I will refer to over and over again was a missing aspect that was hard to replicate.

A season of challenge

This season, the passion and toughness returned in a player on the wrong side of 30 overcoming a season-ending ACL tear.  While not quite himself, Julian Edelman still caught 74 passes for 850 yards and 6 touchdowns all while missing the first four games of the season.

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Then came the playoffs where, as usual, he performed on a high level.  With a nine-catch, 151-yard performance against the Los Angeles Chargers and clutch play after clutch catch against the Kansas City Chiefs and the AFC Championship Game, old man Edelman proved he is still a player to be reckoned with anywhere on the field, especially when his team needs him most.

Given his size, one can only marvel at what he has accomplished over the years.  Tom Brady certainly recognizes what one of his favorite targets continues to do.

"“Look at his stature.  He wasn’t built like Megatron (Calvin Johnson).  He’s just built the way he was built, and I think he’s just worked so hard over the years to learn how to play receiver,” Brady said, via  “He’s just done an incredible job.”"

A case for Julian Edelman

The fact that he has had to learn how to play receiver in the NFL and has become the No. 2 receiver all time in NFL playoff receiving yards behind the great Jerry Rice says it all.

He is a player who simply steps up in big games.  He performs and motivates his teammates to rise to the occasion.  From the comeback victory against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLVIII to the historic comeback victory against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl XL, Julian Edelman was the engine fueling his team back.

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So, while his career numbers and PED suspension will weigh discussions about his Hall-of-Fame worthiness, that relentless nature to become one of the best in the game is indisputable.  In a way, Julian Edelman has come to define the New England Patriots.  He is not as talented as Terrell Owens or as gifted as Julio Jones, but he does whatever it takes to get the job done beyond the individual numbers.

Isn’t that what the NFL Hall-of-Fame is truly about?  If not, maybe it’s time to rethink how greatness is really defined when it comes to that 100-yard football field.