Stardom won’t protect New England Patriots players from Bill Belichick’s unflinching criticism. Just ask Julian Edelman.
During an appearance on former Patriots teammate Chris Long’s “Green Light Podcast,” Edelman was asked to recall the worst film-room tongue-lashing he received from Belichick during his 12 years in New England.
The retired wide receiver said it occurred after he and cornerback Stephon Gilmore were kicked out of a 2017 training camp practice for fighting after the whistle. Edelman and Gilmore — who was entering his first season as a Patriot at the time — ripped off each other’s helmets after a contested incompletion and had to be separated by teammates and staffers.
Later, when the team gathered to watch film from practice, Belichick laid into Edelman for violating his strict no-fighting mandate.
“I got in a fight with Gilmore,” Edelman explained on Long’s podcast. “(Belichick) puts it on, and he’ll just sit and rewind it like 45 times with silence — silence! And then when he stands up, there’s a guy that his job is to go run and turn the lights on. So it’s, like, majestically turning on. …
“So he sits and rewinds it like 45 times, and then he stands up and he goes, ‘What the (expletive) are we doing? We can’t have this.’ He’s just going on and just wringing me like, ‘You know what, Edelman? You over here think you’re a tough guy.’ Just getting on me in front of the team. But I think low-key, he loved it.”
Edelman and Long reminisced about Belichick’s notoriously brutal film sessions, which focused heavily on players’ “lowlights” and were held with the entire team in attendance.
“It’s really something to be said when a coach — I don’t know how it is in other places, but this guy every day, for 45 to 50 minutes every day, would break down three phases of the game and he could call each phase of the game like he was a coordinator,” Edelman told Long, who was part of the Patriots’ 2016 championship team. “And he’s called plays for each phase of the game. I didn’t really realize that until I heard guys like you come in and say, ‘This is crazy that you guys come in and meet every morning for this long and he’s putting on a 60-play cutup that we all have to watch.’ I didn’t realize that.”
Belichick released a glowing statement following Edelman’s retirement in April, calling the wideout “the ultimate competitor” and “the quintessential throwback player.”
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career — wins, championships, production — Julian has it all,” Belichick said. “… It was a privilege to coach him.”