BOSTON (CBS) — When Tom Brady took his talents to Tampa Bay, he was hoping to bring his favorite receiver from New England along with him. But Julian Edelman said no thanks.

Edelman joined Peyton and Eli Manning for their ManningCast on Monday Night Football during Monday’s Buccaneers-Giants game, and revealed that it did not take Brady very long to reach out to him after signing with the Buccaneers to make a recruiting pitch. Brady really wanted Edelman by his side in Tampa, and immediately tried to lure him to Florida shortly after signing with the Bucs.

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“He hit me up the first day he signed there,” Edelman told the Manning brothers. “He’s like, ‘You want to come down?’ I was like, ‘Absolutely not.'”

But Edelman was still under contract with the Patriots and happy in New England when Brady signed with the Bucs in 2020. That season would end up being his last in the NFL, as Edelman retired during the 2021 offseason after 12 seasons — all in New England.

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The former receiver did admit to the Mannings that he was “pretty close” to signing with the New York Giants when he hit free agency in 2013. He visited with the team and met with head coach Tom Coughlin, but ultimately returned to the Patriots. Edelman thanked Peyton for the Denver Broncos signing Wes Welker away from New England, opening up a bigger opportunity for himself on the field.

“The rest is history,” said Edelman. “You guys are saying, ‘Once a Giant, always a Giant.’ Well, ‘Almost a Giant, always a Patriot.'”

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Edelman also revealed that one of New England’s AFC rivals —  the Pittsburgh Steelers — were interested in his during the pre-draft process in 2009. But Pittsburgh worked the former college QB out as a defensive player and not a return man/receiver like the Patriots. New England drafted Edelman in the seventh round that year.

CBSBoston.com Staff