In case you haven’t heard yet, Julian Edelman retired from the NFL. Yes, the star wide receiver of the New England Patriots called it a career yesterday afternoon. I can’t count how many times I said, “I’m sad.” However, this was expected. Looking back, Julian Edelman had some great moments during his NFL career. From the many things he’d say to Tom Brady on the sideline, to simply making a play, Edelman was always creating some kind of epic moment. He will be more than missed by players, coaches and fans. It’s time to celebrate the career of Julian Edelman. Let’s take a look at my favorite moments from his career.
1. Super Bowl 51 catch
This is the greatest catch in Super Bowl history. I don’t care what anyone has to say, this is way better than the helmet catch made by Giants wide receiver David Tyree. This Super Bowl is historic for obvious reasons and the best play from this game is the Edelman catch. Tom Brady is always yelling on the sideline “laser focus” and that’s exactly what Edelman was. No matter how many times players can try to replicate this, they can’t. This catch will forever be NFL history.
2. Divisional round touchdown pass
This was a gutsy play call. Julian Edelman was a former quarterback at Kent State and he reminded the Ravens about it. In this game, the Patriots trailed the Baltimore Ravens 14-0 and then 28-14. Two fourteen point comebacks in the same game. This touchdown pass by Edelman gave New England the momentum they needed in order to win this game. We all know what would happen after this game (and the AFC Championship game), Super Bowl champions over the Seattle Seahawks.
3. His breakout game
This is really when the legend of Julian Edelman began. This game took place November 18th, 2012. This was Edelman’s fourth year in the league and this is when his career really began to take off. Edleman was already respected at this point by his teammates, but after this game, his career would never be the same. Edelman’s final stats for this game were five catches for 58 yards, one touchdown, one rushing attempt for 47 yards, one forced fumble, two punt returns for 117 yards and one touchdown. Edelman typically isn’t a stat stuffer, but in this breakout game, he was. The final score in this game was 59-24. Edelman and the Patriots had a huge day.
4. Punt return against Miami
Who doesn’t love a good punt return? Julian Edelman made a name for himself by being a solid punt/kick returner for New England. This return stands out the most for me. Edleman gets the punt inside his own ten yard line, breaks a tackle from a Miami defender immediately, and then makes two more guys miss and then takes off. Punt/kick returns are some of the most exciting plays in football especially when one goes the distance.
5. Super Bowl 53 MVP
In a defense heavy Super Bowl, Julian Edelman found a way to be the star of this game. In the playoffs, Edelman would turn into a completely different player. Edelman torched the Los Angeles Rams secondary for 10 catches (game-high) and 141 yards. The Rams had no answer for Edelman. The Patriots would win the Super Bowl 13-3 and Julian Edelman would be named Super Bowl MVP. A well deserved MVP for one of the leaders of the Patriots.
Here’s another fun video of Julian Edelman’s best plays. I won’t lie, I teared up when I saw the news that his contract was terminated because I knew what was next. Even though I knew this was coming, this still hit me hard. It felt like a train hit me when Julian Edelman released his retirement video. Just like everyone else, I will miss Julian Edelman terribly. It’s hard to find a player like him. I can’t wait to see him be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame! Thank you for everything Julian! Foxboro Forever.
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-Matt Burnett (@mattthew_jordan on Twitter)