Julian Edelman seemingly is deeply respected by everyone associated with the Patriots organization, including those who came before him.
Willie McGinest reflected on Edelman’s incredible NFL career shortly after the three-time Super Bowl champion announced his retirement. The former linebacker, who also won three championships in Foxboro, believes Edelman epitomized everything it means to be a member of the Patriots.
” … He’s one of the toughest players to ever play in the league,” McGinest said Monday on NFL Network. “He was a receiver, but he didn’t act like a receiver. He was one of those guys who invited the pain. He loved the grind. He was a workaholic. He played through pain for years. I mean, he had to really be set back for him to want to retire and not go forth. He endured a lot. When you talk about what he meant to the Patriots and what he meant to Tom Brady, he was a selfless player. He would do anything they asked him to do. He would block, he would run whatever routes. He would talk trash back to Brady. He didn’t back down from anybody, no matter what the route. He ran across any safety.
“It didn’t really matter with Julian Edelman — he was clutch. He came up with the biggest plays in the biggest games. He always looked to help his teammates and do whatever he could to become better. So, when you talk about Edelman and all the different things he accomplished, he exemplifies the true Patriot Way. A guy that’s done everything you’re supposed to do. I wouldn’t even call him a blue collar guy. I mean, he works like that, but he’s just on a whole other level. He’s self-made — he made his career. He came in and earned his spot and grinded for what he has. For 12 years, he was one of the best guys doing it at his position.”
McGinest’s remarks about Edelman mirror those made by Bill Belichick, who called it a “privilege” to coach the future Patriots Hall of Famer.