BOSTON (CBS) — Julian Edelman will forever be remembered as one of the great success stories in the NFL, a seventh-round pick that developed into a true gamer and a champion. On Thursday, Edelman received more praise from the man that brought him into the league and helped develop him into the player that he was: Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.

Belichick touted Edelman as the “ultimate competitor” in a statement following the receiver’s retirement on Monday, and said that it was a privilege to coach him for 12 seasons. The head coach expanded on those comments Thursday during his pre-draft video chat with reporters.

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“Julian has been one of the players that has probably come further than most every other player that I’ve coached,” Belichick said Thursday. “His development from a quarterback in college to a receiver, a punt returner, and even a defensive player, all positions he had never played, it’s quite an accomplishment. Especially considering he didn’t do those things and wasn’t trained to do those things in college.

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“His toughness, his competitiveness, his playmaking ability is certainly a big part of the backbone of our team,” Belichick added. “I have a ton of respect for Julian and what he accomplished in his career and how hard he worked to accomplish it. I have a great appreciation for all he’s done for me, personally, and our organization.”

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Belichick drafted Edelman in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft with visions of turning the college QB into a receiver and return man. Edelman certainly put in the work over the years and developed into Tom Brady’s favorite target on the field, winning three Super Bowls during his career with the Patriots. Staff