FOXBORO, Mass. — Julian Edelman is easy to spot on the New England Patriots’ practice field. He’s the guy at the end of the warmup line with a bright yellow T-shirt poking out from under his white practice jersey.
That shirt? A Kent State Golden Flashes workout T-shirt that Edelman’s been wearing to practice since he was drafted by the Patriots in 2009. He wore it to the podium Thursday during his news conference.
“Yup, I think this is Year 7 in this bad boy,” Edelman said. “I think dry fit just came out when they gave it to me.”
Edelman is a proud Kent State alum and will be lining up across from another Golden Flashes legend Sunday at Gillette Stadium in the AFC Championship when the Patriots take on the Pittsburgh Steelers.
“I mean, James Harrison, fellow Flash, he’s an unbelievable stud,” Edelman said. “That guy’s been doing it consistently for a long time. I’ve been a huge fan of him before I got in the league, and just to see and have an idea of where he came from, it’s unbelievable to see how hard he’s worked to get where he’s got. He’s a large man that’s fast, explosive and if he’s coming my way, it’s going to be a ‘get down.'”
Harrison is in his 14th NFL season. He came into the league as an undrafted free agent out of Kent State in 2002, when Edelman was just a sophomore in high school. He’s since made five Pro Bowls and been named to four All-Pro teams.
The 38-year-old linebacker recorded 53 tackles with five sacks and an interception in 15 games this season.
Edelman was still in high school the last time the Patriots and Steelers faced off in the AFC Championship Game. Tom Brady and Ben Roethlisberger were the quarterbacks in that game too.
“Studs,” Edelman said about Brady and Roethlisberger. “Big Ben, he’s a MAC guy. I have nothing but respect for him too and his journey. He’s been doing it for a long time. He’s just a gritty, big old dude who gets it done. He’s fun to watch. TB is TB. It’s one thing to be good in this league, but it’s (another) thing to be very good for a long period of time, and that’s what both of those guys have done.”