Julian Edelman announces retirement following release from Pats

FOXBORO, Mass. — Former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman has announced his retirement from the National Football League in a video posted to the athlete’s social media Monday afternoon.

The Patriots had terminated Edelman’s contract earlier in the day Monday, according to the NFL’s official transaction wire. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport first reported the news Monday afternoon. The reason for the release is reportedly listed as a failed physical.

Edelman has been in New England for 11 seasons after the Patriots drafted the former college QB in the 7th round of the 2009 NFL Draft. Since his arrival in Foxborough, Edelman has been the ultimate Patriot, lining up on offense, special teams and even defense for the Pats.

A three-time Super Bowl champion, Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl LIII after hauling in 10 catches for 141 yards in the 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. He also caught the game-winning touchdown in the Patriots’ win over the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX as well as the unforgettable catch in Super Bowl LI that helped the Patriots defeat the Atlanta Falcons.

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Both Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft issued statements following Edelman’s announcement Monday, thanking the wide receiver for his time with the team.

“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all. Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances. For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”

—  Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick

“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. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite. Over the past 12 years, I have enjoyed watching him grow as a player, as a person and as a father. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Julian, which might be the only place where he is more popular than here in New England.”

—  Patriots Chairman and CEO Robert Kraft

Edelman is second in total receptions in Patriots’ history with 620. His 118 receptions in the playoffs trail only Jerry Rice as the most in NFL history. His 36 touchdown receptions for New England are the ninth most in team history.

Knee issues had previously put the 2021 NFL season in doubt for Edelman. Injuries limited the soon-to-be 35-year-old to just six games a season ago.

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