FOXBORO, Mass. — Julian Edelman has a chance to be a Patriot for life after signing a two-year contract extension with New England.
The wide receiver is 31 years old and now has three more years left on his contract. Edelman is appreciative of the new deal but isn’t ready to start thinking too far ahead.
“I want to thank the Krafts, Mr. (Robert) Kraft, the Kraft family, Coach (Bill) Belichick, the coaching staff for giving me another opportunity to stay here and play,” Edelman said Tuesday. “I love being a Patriot and we’ll leave it at that. I’m looking forward to the 2017 season. You know, looking for more time to improve, taking advantage of these few weeks off to go out and work on my own and try to bring everything I have to this team.”
Belichick also was happy to get the contract completed.
“Well, I mean, obviously, anytime you sign a contract, it’s an agreement between two parties, so it got done,” Belichick said. “We’re glad it’s done or we wouldn’t have done it. Hopefully, he’s glad it’s done or he wouldn’t have done it. So, just concentrate on playing football.”
The Patriots drafted Edelman in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft and converted him from college quarterback to NFL wide receiver. It wasn’t always a smooth transition for Edelman, who finally emerged as one of the league’s top receivers in 2013 after Wes Welker was signed away by the Denver Broncos.
“Julian’s improved and done a lot of things that he never did in college, so that was not maybe something that he would have projected or anticipated,” Belichick said. “But at the same time, he had enough qualities that we drafted him, and he showed that even as a rookie, I think, in terms of his production. Not taking anything away from Julian, but I would have been a lot more surprised at (guard) Steve Neal’s career than Edelman’s, let’s put it that way.”
This is Edelman’s ninth NFL season, but his new contract almost certainly ensures he’ll spend at least a decade with the Patriots.
“You know, I’m just worried about this year, so you can’t think too far ahead,” Edelman said. “That’s what I’ve learned in this profession over my years. So I’m just worried about the next day, and the next day is going out and trying to improve and getting ready for this 2017 season.”
Many players strive to spend an entire career with one team, but Edelman isn’t thinking about retirement just yet, either.
“I’m just worried about 2017,” Edelman said. “It’s an exciting part of the year right now. It’s almost the start of the season, so that’s what I’ll be looking forward to. …
“I already said I’m happy to be a Patriot. I’m a Pat, but I’m just worried about this year. As lame as it sounds and as much as you guys hear it, it’s really a mentality where you just keep it day-to-day. When you can do that, that’s usually when you stay focused and you improve the most. That’s how I’m going to try to take this.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images