Julian Edelman gave it everything he had over the course of his Patriots tenure, right until the very end.
Edelman on Monday announced his retirement after 12 NFL seasons. The Super Bowl LIII MVP in his farewell video noted the wheels finally came off, and Edelman apparently wasn’t speaking in cliché as he explained why he’s calling it a career.
NFL Media’s Ian Rapoport shed light on the timeline that concluded with Edelman opting for retirement. As the veteran league insider explained during an appearance on NFL Network’s “NFL Total Access,” Edelman had every intention to return from his knee injury before ultimately realizing how serious it was.
“It really did begin last year,” Rapoport said. “Of course, Julian Edelman tried to play through a pretty serious knee injury. Actually thought he was going to come back late in the season after having surgery — just was not able to do it. Tried to practice, had a little bit of a setback, was not on the field again and at that point, it became very clear to the people close to Julian Edelman that this knee injury was troublesome and potentially career-ending.
“Of course, the Patriots took their time with this and let Edelman take his time, prove to himself he could get healthy. They tried to allow him as much time as possible just to be able to play in the 2021 season despite the fact that they also planned without him. They signed Kendrick Bourne, they signed Nelson Agholor. They moved on but gave him every opportunity. In the end, Edelman knew it was time and the Patriots knew it was time.”
The Patriots technically released Edelman on Monday, citing a failed physical. By going this route, the 34-year-old will be able to collect up to $2 million via the injury protection benefit listed in the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement.