When Julian Edelman arrived in New England in 2009, he was a seventh-round draft pick who had an uphill battle just to make the roster after playing quarterback at Kent State. Patriots coach Bill Belichick marvels at how Edelman carved out a spot for himself at the NFL level.
Belichick said that of all the players he has coached, he can’t think of one who has improved as much as Edelman, who had to learn how to play wide receiver and punt returner and did that at a very high level, and even played cornerback when the Patriots asked him to.
“Julian’s been one of the players that’s probably come further than most every other player that I’ve coached,” Belichick said. “His development from a quarterback in college to a receiver, punt returner and even a defensive player, all positions that he never played. To excel as a punt return and receiver for a number of years at those difficult positions is quite an accomplishment, especially considering that he didn’t do those things, wasn’t trained to do them, in college. His toughness, his competitiveness, his playmaking ability was a big part of the backbone of our team. I have a ton of respect for Julian, what he accomplished in his career, how hard he worked to accomplish it, and I have a great appreciation for al he’s done for me personally and our organization.”
Edelman announced his retirement this week after a 12-year NFL career, all in New England.