The NFL transaction wire released Monday stated that Edelman had his contract terminated by the Patriots, but the roster move is expected to be a technicality as part of his retirement, a source told ESPN.
“It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family,” Edelman said. “And I’m honored and so proud to be retiring a Patriot. … It’s been the best 12 years of my life.”
Edelman, who turns 35 next month, was limited to six games last season because of a chronic knee injury. He spent his entire 12-year career with the Patriots and ranks second in NFL history with 118 postseason receptions, behind only Jerry Rice’s 151.
Foxboro Forever pic.twitter.com/x3SDDPJoTX
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) April 12, 2021
One of Edelman’s signature plays was an improbable diving catch in Super Bowl LI, helping the Patriots overcome a 28-3 second-half deficit to rally past the Atlanta Falcons. Two years later in a victory over the Los Angeles Rams in Super Bowl LIII, he was named MVP after totaling 10 receptions for 141 yards.
His quarterback for those games, Tom Brady, took to social media Monday to praise his longtime slot receiver.
“On the biggest stage and in the biggest moments, you always came through,” Brady tweeted. “You never lost that chip on your shoulder and you never let anyone define you as a person or player. I’m proud of you Jules. Love you.”
Added Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft in a statement: “Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history. There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before. Julian not only did that as a seventh-round draft selection, but he is retiring with the second-most career receptions in franchise history and as a three-time Super Bowl Champion, including his last as Super Bowl MVP. No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career.”
Edelman caps his career in second place on the all-time Patriots chart for receptions (620), behind only Wes Welker (672). He is fourth on the team’s career receiving yards list with 6,822 receiving yards, behind only Stanley Morgan (10,352), Rob Gronkowski (7,861) and Welker (7,459).
“Nothing in my career has ever come easy and no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy either,” Edelman said. “I’ve always said, ‘I’ll go until the wheels come off.’ And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I’ll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football.”
By having his contract terminated for a “failed physical,” Edelman now becomes eligible for the injury protection benefit, per the CBA, available to all players in this situation. Edelman can collect up to $2 million through this benefit.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: ESPN, Mike Reiss