By Michael Hurley, CBS Boston
BOSTON (CBS) — Nobody in football has had a career path quite like Julian Edelman.
At 6-feet tall, he was a running quarterback at Kent State. He got drafted as a receiver and joined a team that employed Randy Moss and Wes Welker. He caught 69 passes for 714 yards and four touchdowns total in his first four seasons combined. He played on both sides of the ball in his third NFL season, playing defense in the 2011 AFC Championship Game. All the while, he returned kicks and punts.
Since then, he’s become almost impossible for opponents to cover, as he’s developed into a prolific receiver and a two-time Super Bowl champion. He’s arguably been the most reliable, consistent, and clutch receiver Tom Brady’s ever had, and he made two of the most memorable Super Bowl receptions in Patriots history.
Though Edelman is currently on injured reserve, he was the recipient of some praise by a fellow injured player this week. Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman wrote a piece for The Players’ Tribune this week, in which he spotlighted five receivers who have been the toughest to cover.
“He’s not the biggest, strongest or fastest guy, but he plays hard and he plays the game the right way,” Sherman said of Edelman. “He does the dirty work. He’s blue collar, and he’s tough as nails.”
Sherman discussed Edelman’s catch from Super Bowl XLIX, a catch which gave the Patriots a first down but also led to Edelman getting hit hard by safety Kam Chancellor.
“I don’t know how he survived that hit without at least letting go of the ball,” Sherman marveled. “Yes, he was down by contact. But man … for him to get up and keep running after taking that hit? That’s one tough individual.”
Sherman said that the fact that other receivers — currently Chris Hogan and Danny Amendola — can be plugged in to the Patriots’ offense can lead to Edelman not getting enough credit for being as great as he is.
“But I think he’s more than just a system guy,” Sherman said. “You just don’t see a lot of wide receivers bring that kind of toughness to their game, especially at his size. And as a defensive player, that’s something that I definitely respect.”