Patriots: Julian Edelman’s rise from 7th round pick to 7th heaven

Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) jumps as he runs onto the field before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 3, 2019; Baltimore, MD, USA; New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) jumps as he runs onto the field before the game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

Julian Edelman, one of the New England Patriots all-time best players and draft picks announced his retirement April 12, 2021 in Foxborough. It was a tough moment this evening watching Edelman announce that he could no longer continue his career for the Patriots.

Though it was not unexpected in light of recent news, it is still a sad day for Patriots fans all over the world as an iconic player will no longer suit up in his No. 11 jersey for the home team again. And no one else should ever suit up in that jersey either.

Losing his teammate and comrade Tom Brady in 2020 must have been a crushing blow for Edelman as the two had engaged in titanic struggles against a variety of worthy opponents over the 11 years in which they played together.

Yet, Julian, ever the Patriots, persevered.

Indeed, perseverance could very well be the watchword to describe the brilliant and often under-appreciated career of arguably the Patriots best wide receiver and return man ever.

It is truly fitting that he retires where he belongs, as a Patriot.

Patriots legend Julian Edelman, Hall-of-Famer

No one may have ever been tougher on a football team than Julian Edelman. There may have been a few as tough, but unlikely any tougher.

Edelman personified the grit and determination of a player who demanded the most of himself and his teammates, delivered his share, and often brought the rest along with him.

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There is no doubt, that Edelman will be adorned in the red blazer of a New England Patriots Hall-of-Famer. He’s a lock first-ballot winner there.

Yet, those who are a bit older will recall that he was a seventh-round draft pick, a quarterback from Kent State who ground out his role on a Patriots team as a special teams ace, and one of the best return men in the history of the team. He was indeed special in that role.

In addition, Edelman transformed himself from a quarterback to a receiver over a few years and went on to forge a bond with his football brother Brady that was as inseparable as it was unplayable.

Absorbing crushing hit after crushing hit, Edelman forged his name into the history of the New England Patriots franchise as he did in the history of the National Football League.

It has been felt in this space that Edelman deserves a place not only in the Patriots’ Hall with their red blazer but also merits wearing the Pro Football Hall of Fame yellow blazer, as well.

In his two major roles in football as a return man and a receiver, he excelled. From obscurity, he rose to the status of a cult hero in New England as he personified the image and attributes of The Football Player.

The player who lays his body and soul on the line every time he stepped on the field. . Every game. Every play. Every minute. Every second. It was always Julian Edelman, football player.

It was almost as though for as long as his compatriot, No. 12 was in New England, Edelman could as a Frank Sinatra song said, “take the blows” and continue to do it his way.

And that meant taking all the blows the opponents could deliver and just keep on keeping on. Just get up. Go back to the huddle. Just win. But after only 6 games without his compatriot, the ability to continue physically just wasn’t there anymore.

So, it’s time to say farewell from New England Patriots fans to a masterpiece of a player. One of a kind.

A player who stands with the likes of Tedy Bruschi, John Hannah, Steve Grogan, Andre Tippett, Troy Brown, (a man named Brady), and a select group of others who personify Patriots greatness.

He’s the man who helped win three Super Bowls including the most improbable against Atlanta. It was in that game that Julian Edelman made, it says here, the greatest catch in the history of professional football or any other level of football, as well.

It was his signature moment of greatness. Made the biggest catch, in the biggest game, on the biggest stage. Ever. That was Julian Edelman. And he will be missed, indeed.

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So as he departs playing football, let’s hope Julian Edelman remains with the New England Patriots in some capacity always. He deserves that honor.

And we will certainly look forward to his induction into the Hall of Fame at Gillette and hopefully in Canton, as well.

Good luck and Godspeed, Julian. And oh, by the way, thank you for all the enjoyment you have brought to Pats Nation for so many years. You won’t be forgotten.