It’s not too often that you hear Bill Belichick open up his heart and publicly give one of his players glory, but he did so with Julian Edelman this week.
Edelman on Monday announced his retirement from the NFL. He did so with an emotional video message (you can watch it here).
Belichick, who coached the Patriots throughout Edelman’s entire career, praised the former receiver with some very nice words.
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all,” Belichick said in his 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. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances. For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor, and it was a privilege to coach him.”
Edelman won three Super Bowls with the Patriots and was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII.
Here is the statement team owner Robert Kraft issued about Edelman:
“Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history. There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before. Julian not only did that as a seventh-round draft selection, but he is retiring with the second-most career receptions in franchise history and as a three-time Super Bowl Champion, including his last as Super Bowl MVP. No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite. Over the past 12 years, I have enjoyed watching him grow as a player, as a person and as a father. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Julian, which might be the only place where he is more popular than here in New England.”
Edelman is second in Patriots history with 620 receptions and second in NFL history with 118 postseason receptions. He departs the Patriots a year after Tom Brady left. Edelman’s retirement decision is not too surprising considering what we knew about his knee injury.