Five months ago, Julian Edelman was training by himself while his teammates opened the 2018 season.
The 32-year-old wide receiver was suspended for four games to begin the 2018 season after violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. Edelman took his punishment and returned in Week 5, putting together another solid season that culminated in a dominant playoff run that saw him earn Super Bowl MVP honors after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the New England Patriots’ Super Bowl win over the Los Angeles Rams.
It’s been a whirlwind 18 months for Edelman, who missed the entire 2017 season with a torn ACL, and he recently sat down with NBC’s Peter King to discuss the Super Bowl, the Patriots and his suspension, although he didn’t divulge much on the latter.
“After going through this whole year,” Edelman told King, “these last 24 months of my life have been a roller coaster. You go out and you tear an ACL. Then all of a sudden you have a suspension that you’re facing. A lot of things go down and then you end up … a huge low of your life. Because football is life. That’s what people don’t understand with me. This is what I am. This is what I was put here to do. This is what I sacrificed all my time for — my friends, my family, everything like that … And then when you’re told you can’t play football for four weeks because of something that happened that you really can’t get into because you really don’t know what happened, it’s tough. You learn a lot from that.
“When that happened, I had a strong corner behind me,” Edelman continued. “My father and I kind of just sat back and said, All right, we have a problem here. What’s this problem? Let’s make sure this never happens again. Let’s own up to it. Let’s take your penalty like a man, regardless of the circumstances.’ … From this whole thing, I’ve learned that you’ve just got to stay in your routine, and you’ve just got to work your way out of it.
“People don’t know what happened. I can’t sit here and (due to) the league rules say what happened.”
Does Edelman disagree with his punishment?
“I’m not going down that road,” Edelman said. “I served what I had to serve and I accept that. I know a lot of people were disappointed in me for it. I apologize. It’ll never happen again.”
It should be noted that NFL rules don’t forbid Edelman from talking about it, but the league could object if he says something they don’t agree with, according to King.
Edelman now will enter the offseason without a grueling rehab or suspension to face and instead can focus on preparing to win another Super Bowl in New England.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images