FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — In considered one of Julian Edelman’s first coaching camp practices with the New England Patriots in 2009, he was struggling so badly to discipline punts that followers serenaded him with boos.
Welcome to New England, child.
Nobody might have predicted that day how stunningly profitable Edelman’s transition from school quarterback at Kent State to Patriots receiver/punt returner (and occasional defensive again) would unfold. He was the undersized underdog, a 5-foot-10, 196-pound seventh-round decide (232nd total) who at all times had a glacial chip on his shoulder.
The primary 4 years of his profession have been survival. Accidents have been an issue (he totaled 69 catches and 4 TDs), he had but to develop a particular rapport with quarterback Tom Brady like receiver Wes Welker did, and when Edelman hit the free-agent market after the 2012 season, solely the New York Giants expressed a gentle stage of curiosity — basically at a minimal wage.
So Edelman returned to New England on a prove-it one-year deal value about $1 million … if he reached all incentives.
Every time he walked by reporters that coaching camp, his fireplace was inconceivable to overlook. He wasn’t concerned with interviews; actually, he may need skipped them altogether — maybe a bit peeved that the Patriots had watched Welker signal with the Denver Broncos in free company after which paid Danny Amendola large bucks to take his place.
Edelman appeared decided to show them incorrect. Everybody incorrect.
And eventually, in 12 months 5, issues turned in his favor. Amendola struggled with accidents and Edelman exploded by totaling 105 receptions for 1,056 yards and 6 touchdowns, which was the beginning of a exceptional stretch that may finally land him within the Patriots Corridor of Fame (first 12 months eligible, 2025).
His modest one-year contract was rewarded with a four-year, $17 million pact, with Edelman — of Redwood Metropolis, California — declaring that Foxborough, Massachusetts was now his dwelling.
He appeared to revel within the fervor surrounding the area’s profitable professional groups, usually attending Purple Sox, Celtics and Bruins video games and carrying customized jerseys. His personal fashion of play — fearless, relentless, with an edge — endeared him to followers. The way in which he shot out of the tunnel earlier than video games, and sprinted from finish zone to finish zone earlier than exploding into the air with a fist pump, usually made Gillette Stadium roar earlier than the primary kickoff.
In his retirement video, Edelman instantly addressed followers, saying: “You welcomed me and my household to a area we did not know. However now I am considered one of you.”
Edelman additionally famous his private development over that point, which included extra overtly embracing his Jewish roots, and utilizing his platform in opposition to anti-Semitism. The morning after profitable Tremendous Bowl LIII in opposition to the Los Angeles Rams in February of 2019, following his MVP information convention, Edelman bumped right into a reporter and shared how proud he was to be the primary Jewish MVP.
He had come a great distance since that 2009 coaching camp follow when followers have been booing him off the sector, unforgiving of a participant who was fielding punts for the primary time in his profession.
In Edelman’s well-known phrases from the sidelines of Tremendous Bowl LI — when the Patriots roared again from a 28-3 second-half deficit to shock the Falcons due to probably the most exceptional catch of Edelman’s profession — it really was a “helluva story.”