BOSTON (CBS) — Julian Edelman called it a career last week, and he has no regrets about his decision to hang up his cleats. The former Patriots receiver said he always left it all out on the field throughout his 12-year NFL career, and he’s satisfied with the decision.
“I’m not a greedy guy. What else do I have to play for? I set out to go out and make a team, try to win some championships, and, honestly, I have accomplished everything plus more than I ever thought I would’ve going into my rookie year,” Edelman told the Pardon My Take podcast.READ MORE: Tom Brady's First Career Touchdown Football Up For Auction
Edelman said that if someone had told him how his career would play out before he became a pro — converting from a college quarterback to a wide receiver made countless big catches en route to three Super Bowl championships — he wouldn’t have believed it.
“No shot. That’s how much work I had to put into this whole thing and it’s something where I’m proud of my career, I’m proud of everything, I’m proud of the relationships, the teams I’ve been a part of, and father time is undefeated,” he said.
Edelman said that he’s happy that he walked away before he pushed it too far, and wasn’t able to be the Julian Edelman that Patriots and NFL fans grew to love over the years.
“I’m not gonna go out there and try to play, where you look like a bobblehead out there, like a 36-year-old old guy lacing up the knee brace, the back brace. I don’t want to have that,” he said. “I don’t want to look like that; I respect the game too much. It’s been too good to me. So it’s one of those things where if I can’t go out there and be the player that I know I am in this league and that I’ve been for a consistent period of time, I have no problem walking away because I enjoyed the time that I did have in this league.”
Edelman has plenty of career highlights to pick from when zeroing in on a personal favorite, but his choice may surprise many fans. He did not go with his absurd catch against the Atlanta Falcons in New England’s Super Bowl LI comeback, or his game-winning snag against the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.READ MORE: Patriots Running Back James White Earns Degree From Wisconsin, Fulfilling A Promise To His Parents
Instead, Edelman went with another grab in Super Bowl XLIX, when he brought in pass from Tom Brady on a 3rd-and-14 and hung on despite getting absolutely demolished by Seattle safety Kam Chancellor. Edelman sprung back up after the hit and turned it into a 21-yard gain, a huge swing in momentum with the Patriots trailing 24-14.
“That whole week going into that game all we kept hearing was ‘The Legion of Boom’ and ‘The No Fly Zone.’ That was a cool moment. I knew I got his best and I was able to get up and go and make a play in the next couple plays,” Edelman said. “Like hey, we’re here to play. We may not be the flashy skill position group. We’re not the ‘Legion of Boom’ — and I have nothing but respect for those guys. Those guys were studs. Earl Thomas, [Richard Sherman], freakin’ Chancellor.
“That was my play that I love. That’s hard-nosed football,” Edelman added. “When I transferred to receiver it was always, ‘Can you make the catch over the middle?’ And that was the catch over the middle in the biggest moment.”
Six plays later, Brady hit Danny Amendola for a touchdown to cut it to a 24-21 game. Edelman closed New England’s next possession with a three-yard touchdown, the eventual game-winning score in the Patriots’ 28-24 victory.
Edelman added that despite all the speculation, he did not suffer a concussion on that play. His limping around after the hit came due to some lingering pain from a previous punt return.MORE NEWS: Forbes Ranks Patriots As 8th Most Valuable Sports Team In World In 2021
“I got smoked. I definitely got smoked,” he said of the Chancellor hit. “The thing is, on the punt return right before that I took a hip pointer. I could barely walk.”