Julian Edelman’s Bay Area homecoming included nine receptions, one touchdown catch and an end-zone celebration that apparently was misunderstood by a great deal of Twitter users.
After hauling in a touchdown pass from Tom Brady early in Sunday’s 30-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers, the New England Patriots wide receiver launched into a dance that many assumed was a nod to former 49ers safety Merton Hanks, who had a rather unique way of celebrating big defensive plays.
Edelman grew up a 49ers fan in nearby Redwood City, Calif., and was a young kid during Hanks’ tenure with the team, which spanned from 1991 to 1998. But he said the dance was not an homage to the retired defensive back.
Rather, it was tribute to Mac Dre, a Bay Area rapper who was shot and killed in 2004.
“It was for Mac Dre,” Edelman told reporters after the game, as aired on WBZ-TV’s “Patriots 5th Quarter.” “He’s no longer with us. It was something if you played football in the Bay Area, you know about it. If you don’t, that’s your fault.”
The move Edelman busted out is known as the “Thizzle Dance,” and it does bear some resemblance to Hanks’ signature post-whistle theatrics. (Warning: The video embedded below features some NSFW language.)
Sunday’s game was the busiest of the season for Edelman. With Rob Gronkowski and Chris Hogan sidelined and Martellus Bennett largely neutralized, the wideout was targeted 17 times, his highest single-game total since Week 2 of last season.
Brady threw Edelman’s way 19 times in that game, a win over the Buffalo Bills.
Thumbnail photo via Kelley L Cox/USA TODAY Sports Images