Julian Edelman knew exactly when it was time to walk away.
Former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman knew when it was time to hang up the cleats.
The 2020 season, his final one, was a rocky one. He was hampered by injuries and played in just six games that season. By the end, he tallied 21 catches for 315 yards after only starting in one game. The former Super Bowl hero retired just before the 2021 NFL draft, as the Patriots were looking to go in a new direction at quarterback.
However, it wasn’t the new quarterback that made Edelman retire. Rather, it was simply just looking at film and coming to the stark realization that he was not the same receiver he used to be. He opened up about this on The Ryen Russillo Podcast on Thursday.
It’s worth noting that Edelman had a productive career. He finished with 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. He grew a reputation for being a strong playoff performer as well and was a key weapon for the Patriots offensively. Nevertheless, this was a stark reminder of how quickly careers can change.
“Atrocious. That’s honestly why I retired,” said Edelman, when asked about watching film of himself in his final year. “When you start looking old—and it’s not even just the games—it’s the practices, the body language. I mean, I wanted to throw up. That’s why I had to retire.
“When you’re a younger player, I remember you play a couple guys and they’re in their absolute prime, when you’re still trying to figure things out. And then you figure things out, and it’s like four or five years later, and that guy that you still are battling, who was a badass dude has diminished. That’s blood in the water. I’m going to embarrass him every time. I’m going to try to light him up because I remember how hard it was and how he used to embarrass me. …The blood was in the water. Guys were going to come after me. I had to get out.”
Edelman’s retirement marked another instance of turnover throughout the past couple of seasons.
Tom Brady’s decision to join the Tampa Bay Buccaneers marked the end of an era of Patriots football, while Edelman’s retirement continued to add to that.
[mm-video type=playlist id=01eqby79hc76t2s390 player_id=none image=https://patriotswire.usatoday.com/wp-content/plugins/mm-video/images/playlist-icon.png]