Kevin McSports

The 401 Podcast: Tom E. Curran & Jim Donaldson say goodbye to Julian Edelman

The 401 Podcast: Tom E. Curran & Jim Donaldson say goodbye to Julian Edelman

No one ever questioned the fight in Julian Edelman (Photos by Louriann Mardo-Zayat)

 He was the little guy with a heart as big as Gillette Stadium, the California kid with the massive chip on his shoulder.

 And now he’s gone, like so many other bright stars that have exited Foxboro over the last few years.

 When Julian Edelman said goodbye Monday afternoon with a classy Twitter post, sitting at midfield before an empty stadium, it did not come as a surprise. The 5-10 (maybe) slot receiver dragged his injured knee through the 2020 season. Football players know Father Time is undefeated.

 The soon-to-be 35-year old lived a football dream in New England, arriving as a 7th round pick out of Kent State without a defined NFL position and leaving as the second-leading receiver in playoff history to only the great Jerry Rice. While nothing tops Tom Brady’s rise from throw-away draft pick to superstardom, Edelman’s career arc is nearly as unforgettable.

 That Edelman wraps up his career two years after Rob Gronkowski retired (and then returned) and a year after Brady left Foxboro for Tampa Bay only emphasizes that time marches on. Of the 11 offensive starters from New England’s last Super Bowl win (over the L.A. Rams) in the 2018 season, only four remain: back Sony Michel and linemen Shaq Mason, David Andrews and (re-aquired) Trent Brown.

 That only means it’s time for a new group of Patriots to make their mark in the NFL. Fans are left to click on a YouTube or search for a well-written column of that day when Julian Edelman caught the game-winning pass in Super Bowl XLIX or made the most unbelievably fortunate grab against the Falcons in Super Bowl LI to help cap off the greatest comeback in football history.

 Where does Edelman stand in Patriots lore? What a great barroom argument. Wes Welker vs. Edelman. Stanley Morgan, Irving Fryar, the brief but spectacular stint of Randy Moss.  All great receivers, but no one won more, or stood taller in the biggest moments, than Julian Edelman.

New England Patriots Wide Receiver Julian Edelman suddenly retired this week after 12 NFL Seasons. Edelman spent his entire career with the Patriots and was part of three Super Bowl Championships including being named MVP of Super Bowl 53. Jim Donaldson spent 40 years covering the Patriots for the Providence Journal, while Tom E. Curran of NBC Sports Boston has followed the Pats in the Bill Belichick Era as close as anybody. They join Kevin to reflect on Edelman’s career. 

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