Sat, 15 May 2021

Patriots WR Julian Edelman retires following release

Field Level Media
13 Apr 2021, 08:19 GMT+10

Longtime New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement Monday after the team terminated the former Super Bowl MVP's contract with a "failed physical" designation.

In a video posted to social media Monday afternoon, in which he sat in a chair at midfield of the Patriots' Gillette Stadium, Edelman said he was retiring from the NFL due to an injury he battled for most of last season.

"I've always said I'm gonna go until the wheels come off," Edelman said, "and they finally have fallen off."

Edelman, who turns 35 next month, only played in the first six games of 2020 before undergoing knee surgery.

A three-time Super Bowl winner, Edelman ranks second in Patriots history in receptions (620), fourth in receiving yards (6,822) and ninth in touchdown receptions (36).

A quarterback in college at Kent State, Edelman was drafted in the seventh round (232nd overall) by New England in 2009 and wound up playing in 137 regular season games and 19 postseason games.

"Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise's history," Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft said in a statement.

"... 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."

In his own statement, coach Bill Belichick called Edelman "the quintessential throwback player" who could do everything on the field.

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

Edelman posted three 1,000-yard seasons and two 100-catch campaigns. He missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL sustained in the preseason.

He was named the MVP of Super Bowl LIII after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the Patriots' 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

In his retirement announcement, Edelman thanked his family, the Kraft family, Belichick, his teammates and "the entire Patriots organization."

"From the meal ladies to the people that clean up after us, the people in the hallways," Edelman said. "The training staff, the strength staff. We shared so many awesome memories that I'll never forget."

Edelman's release frees up $3.4 million in salary cap space for the Patriots, per Spotrac.

--Field Level Media

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