BOSTON (CBS) — Julian Edelman bared it all (almost) for ESPN The Magazine’s annual “Body Issue,” becoming just the second Patriots player to appear in the issue after Rob Gronkowski partook in 2011.

Among the topics covered in his exclusive online Q&A with ESPN were his many injuries over the course of his career, the way he’s battled through them, and – of course – that catch in the Super Bowl.

No. 11 had a simple answer for how he was able to make his spectacular catch during the Patriots’ fourth-quarter game-tying drive in Super Bowl LI, which helped facilitate the Patriots’ historic comeback.

“The No. 1 rule you’re taught as a receiver: You’ve just got to watch the ball,” said Edelman. “You hear about the guy who was lucky. But the guy who was lucky got an opportunity, and he was prepared for it. Sometimes the ball falls your way, and, you know, we’ll take it.”

This being the “Body Issue”, Edelman was asked something about his body that might surprise people. His answer may not surprise Patriots fans – but it will severely disappoint Rex Ryan.

“I’ve got very ugly feet,” said Edelman. “The moment I got in the NFL – when I started having to do these cone drills and learning how to run routes, and your feet are just constantly going in and sliding and hitting the back or the front of your toe – my feet have just gotten so ugly. I’ve got a bunion on my right one. My toenails are all jacked up. I’ve got scars on the side of them. I’m embarrassed of them.

“I don’t try to hide them, but I don’t wear sandals, I’ll tell you that right now. No words can describe them. They look like grim reaper feet. Tales of the crypt. Remember Tales From the Crypt?”

Edelman hasn’t only injured each of his feet, one of which shelved him for much of the 2015 season. He’s broken each of his fingers, both forearm bones, and his jaw. He’s had surgery for his labrum, PCL, adductors, and a bilateral hernia.

628 julian edelman super bowl 51 catch Julian Edelman Talks Ugly Feet, Injury History In ESPN Body Issue

Julian Edelman makes a 23-yard catch in the fourth quarter against Ricardo Allen and Keanu Neal of the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

But the harsh reality is that Edelman, like most NFL players, has to either play hurt or get back on the field as soon as possible due to the unpredictable nature of pro football contracts.

“There’s an old saying: ‘You can’t make the club in the tub,'” said Edelman. “You do everything you can to get back. You play hurt. Our sport’s different, man. There’s incentive to play because if you don’t play, you don’t get paid. Our contracts aren’t guaranteed. You’ve got to get back quick, because everyone’s good.”

ESPN The Magazine’s 2017 Body Issue debuts online on July 5 and hits newsstands on July 7.


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