FOXBORO, Mass. — Julian Edelman has spent the last 10 seasons in New England. But as a native Californian, he can’t say he embraces the weather that grips the region once fall turns to winter.
Speaking Friday ahead of Sunday’s Week 17 matchup with the New York Jets, the veteran wide receiver discussed the difficulty of playing on those cold December and January days at Gillette Stadium.
“I’m not going to lie,” Edelman said, “this year, when we played in our first colder game, I’m like, ‘Damn, I did not miss this.’ Because it’s different when you’re in the offseason and you’re out in L.A. or in the spring where it’s hot. And I hadn’t played in it a long time, so you’re always trying to get accustomed to it.”
Try as he might, Edelman said he’s never fully succeeded in that regard.
“I don’t think you’re ever accustomed to it,” he said. “It’s harder. The ball’s hard. It’s slick. I think there’s a statistic out there that you lose, like, 30 or 40 percent of your hand strength in sub-freezing temperatures. I don’t know. I’m not a fact-check guy, but I think I read that on somewhere, so I believe it.
“But it’s definitely a little tougher, and we do practice in it a lot. So I wouldn’t say you become truly accustomed to it, but you definitely know what you’re getting into when you play in one of those.”
Edelman does benefit from a bit of extra insulation in the form of his mountain man beard, which he’s been growing since before he returned from suspension in Week 5.
“The beard definitely does keep me warmer,” he said.
Sunday’s forecast calls for a high of 35 degrees and a low of 24 in Foxboro. While no one would classify that as warm weather, it’s practically tropical compared to what the Patriots and Jets played in last year’s regular-season finale.
The kickoff temperature for that game was 13 degrees with a wind chill of -2, making it the coldest regular-season home game in Patriots history.
“Our equipment staff does a great job keeping the sideline warm and all that,” said Edelman, who missed that game as he recovered from a torn ACL. “They have all the gear, and TV timeouts, this, that. You can use the hand warmers and all that stuff, so you just try to do that. But as much as you do it, the other team’s got to do it, as well, so the more you focus on your game plan and those types of things, that’s usually a helping factor.”
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