Malcom Butler and Logan Ryan might not have become well-known, highly paid NFL players without the help of Julian Edelman’s motor mouth.
The Tennessee Titans cornerbacks revealed to The Athletic’s John Glennon on Monday how the New England Patriots wide receiver’s trash talking motivated them to improve during their formative NFL seasons. Edelman was a fifth-year pro who hadn’t had a breakout year when Ryan arrived in New England as a rookie in 2013, and he was in his sixth campaign when Butler came the following year. Edelman didn’t spare his younger teammates’ feelings when he lined up against them in practice, often telling them what play was coming before executing it successfully at their expense.
“Yes he would, all the time,” Butler said. “I can remember him telling me, ‘This is the fade route, and I don’t think you can cover it.’ “I took that personally, and started working on stopping other routes. So of course, he ran the fade on me (for a completion).”
Butler admitted Edelman’s mind games put him in his place as a rookie.
“When Julian gives it to you, he gives it to you,” Butler said. “He’s going to let you know about it. So that humbled me a little bit my rookie year when I was there.”
Ryan and Butler said the trash-talking didn’t flow one way. They often would fire back at Edelman.
“I can’t really tell you what was said,” Ryan said, “because it’s not really fit for print.”
“We could definitely trash talk at times,” Butler added. “We could kind of get rude verbally at times.”
However, the verbal jousting was merely part of an overall competitive environment, which not only drove Edelman, Butler and Ryan to grow as players but also helped the Patriots win two Super Bowls during their time as teammates.
That’s probably why Butler and Ryan still have immense respect for Edelman.
“He’s a good dude,” Butler said. “I love him. He’s a great competitor, but he always gave me encouraging words. We even went to Disney World together.”
Ryan probably best sums up the impact of Edelaman’s trash talk.
“I hope I made him better,” Ryan said. “I know he made me better.”