Julian Edelman puts Bill Belichick up there with the best of them. And he doesn’t only mean that to be confined to the National Football League.
“Not just football, of all time,” the New England Patriots receiver added.
During the conversation, a moderator from Boston raised a question about Edelman’s work ethic in regards to balancing his football career with a brand, parenthood and impacting the local community.
His answer was simple, but passionate. Edelman shared his gratitude to have played for New England since he entered the NFL, and how the examples of excellence were infectious.
“The leadership, it starts from the top down,” Edelman said. “The organization that I’ve been blessed to play for 12 years, my entire career, the New England Patriots, for Mr. Kraft, his family, of how they’re huge, huge, huge role models in the community — of empowering all of the community. They’re unbelievable people, you learn that right away when you get to New England.”
Edelman had high praise for the two men most associated with New England’s foolish success over the last 20 years: Belichick and now-Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.
“Just with how (Belichick) thinks, just being a fly on the wall for a little bit of his career, it’s been truly remarkable and impressive to see how this man works and how disciplined he is,” Edelman said. “And the fact that he has no complacency, ever, ever, kick in. I mean, this guy has won, you know, five, six, you know going for seven Super Bowls and he treats every year the same way. That rubs off on you. And playing with a guy like Tom Brady, you know, seeing your leader go out and how he works and how he is in the community. I mean it rubs off on young guys. That’s why I think people are so important.”
These days, Edelman is now that veteran player setting an example. The wideout will enter the 2021 season as the second-longest tenured Patriot, sandwiched between Matthew Slater and Devin McCourty.
Even with Brady gone, there’s plenty of leaders left in the locker room.