BOSTON (CBS) — Life in the NFL is tough, and nobody knows that better than Julian Edelman.
Drafted in the seventh round of the 2009 draft, Edelman has already experienced more in his five years in the league than most players do in their entire careers. He’s converted from quarterback to wide receiver, he’s suffered injuries, he’s dealt with off-the-field accusations, he’s filled in on defense, he’s finished in the top five in the NFL in receptions, and he’s played in a Super Bowl, among other things.
But the one thing Edelman never had in those five years is long-term stability, and that’s something he has in his new contract with the New England Patriots.
“It’s good to have a little security and knowing that a team believes in you enough to pay you that kind of stuff, a little security on how many years I’ll be here,” Edelman said Thursday. “I’ve never really been in that situation. I’ve always felt like if I had a bad practice, I could potentially get cut the next day.
“Ultimately, it’s good to be back with this franchise, and it’s a surreal moment.”
Edelman signed a four-year deal with the Pats, one that allows him to earn a maximum of $19 million and guarantees him $8 million.
Edelman didn’t re-sign with the Patriots immediately upon entering free agency, and he admitted that visiting the 49ers meant a lot to him, as he grew up in the Bay Area.
“That was a like a little dream right there. I’m not going to lie, it was very surreal,” Edelman said of visiting his hometown 49ers. “That was my home growing up but like I keep on saying, Foxborough is home. It’s all I know really.
“I’ve spent most of my adult life [in New England] so I can tell you right now, I know Boston better than I know San Francisco,” Edelman added. “I go to the Cape more than I go to Lake Tahoe. I mean, I guess I am a New Englander when it comes down to it. It’s pretty crazy to think but if you look at it close, I don’t know the city of San Francisco that well but I grew up 30 miles south. I didn’t go to the city that often as an adult. Now in Boston, I’m there three times a week. I guess I would say I’m a New Englander.”
Ultimately, the appeal of continuing to catch passes from Tom Brady as well as the healthy offer on the table from the Patriots made his return to New England the right choice for him.
“TB let it be known that he would love to have me back and part of the team,” Edelman said. “But Tom’s also a good friend of mine, one of the guys that’s helped me develop into a professional in this league. He also told me that I would have to take care of myself and my family. He just kind of mentored me through the process, [telling me] it’s going to be a very tough decision. It was definitely a very tough decision that you had to deal with but TB was right there behind me if I would have left or if I would have stayed.
“I couldn’t leave the guy,” Edelman added of Brady. “He’s my dog.”
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