New England Patriots Julian Edelman Was Revered by his Peers, His Retirement Draws Similarities to Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia

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The news of Julian Edelman retirement from the NFL surfaced yesterday afternoon.  Edelman decided to hang up his cleats after failing his physical with the Patriots due to his ailing knee. 

Courtesy of the Boston Globe

He was a true Patriot for 12 seasons and part of three Super Bowl championships.  The 34-year-old former  quarterback turned wide receiver drafted out of Kent State captivated the hearts of Patriots fans. 


Edelman was an important piece to the Patriots dynasty.  When you needed a big play, Edelman would be the one to step up and be the hero.  He always came through when it mattered the most. 


Besides the accolades on the field, he was immensely respected by his peers, coach Bill Belichick and owner Robert Kraft off the field. 


“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all.  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,” said Belichick. 


"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,” added Belichick. 


Kraft would echo similar sentiments 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.”


The retirement of Edelman is similar to Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia’s retirement this year. 


Similar to Edelman, Pedroia was just a different breed on the baseball diamond.  Both players won three championships in their respective leagues. 


To his teammates, Pedroia was bigger than life.  For Edelman it was the same way.  Both were players that had the odds in some way stacked against him. 


Pedroia was a short in height shortstop drafted out of Arizona State that turned into gritty, dirt dog ball player who won an MVP and championships. 


Edelman was a three-year starter at Kent State, as a quarterback, who wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine.  He was drafted in the seventh-round because of his ability to possibly play in the wildcat formation at the NFL level. 


He defied all odds and won Super Bowls and performed at a high-level as an every down NFL receiver. 


Knee injuries ultimately took away both their careers.  Both Pedroia and Edelman truly gave it their all while playing in New England and Boston respectively. 


Both players played with a chip on their shoulders and fans in New England loved them for that.  When Pedroia retired, fans all expected it, there was no surprise.  Everyone knew what he gave to Boston and that it was time. 


“The Boston Red Sox, to me, it means everything,” Pedroia said.  “I started my family there; my kids were born in Boston.  Every day I woke up and looked to find a way to help our team win a baseball game, and I got to do it in front of the best fans in the best city.”


Now that Edelman is leaving the game, it will be hard to not see No. 11 running around on the field for New England.  Edelman meant a lot of New England and his former teammate Tom Brady might have said it best. 


“As I was writing this note, Vivi (Brady’s daughter) saw the first picture and said ‘Daddy, tell Julian to cut his beard, I don’t like it’….which of course Jules, she never did like it,” Brady wrote.  “But you know who did…Me!!  Because it meant you were locked in and it was playoff time.  That was when you shined the most.  On the biggest stage and in the biggest moments, you always came through.”


“You never let anyone define you as a person or player,” Brady said.  “You have so many teammates that admired your work ethic and will to win, and I am at the top of the list because when I was down and feeling sorry for myself at times, you were right there to pick me up.  You were as tough as could be and I love you for all that you did to make our teams as great as they could possibly be.”


“Life is about gratitude and perspective!  I am so happy for you and your family.  You had an amazing football journey, an amazing life journey in New England, and I have no doubt you will succeed in anything you choose to do next,” said Brady. 


Thank you, Julian Edelman. 


Foxboro Forever. 



Follow Chris on Twitter @chrishenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: New England Patriots Julian Edelman Was Revered by his Peers, His Retirement Draws Similarities to Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia
New England Patriots Julian Edelman Was Revered by his Peers, His Retirement Draws Similarities to Red Sox’ Dustin Pedroia
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