Tom Brady and Julian Edelman are responsible for one of the most successful quarterback-receiver tandems in Patriots history, and it was built on tough love.
Likely a New England Hall of Famer someday, Edelman arrived in Foxboro, Mass., with zero fanfare. As a converted college quarterback drafted in the seventh round, the Kent State product had to fight tooth and nail to earn playing time with the Patriots. And perhaps even more challenging than pleasing Bill Belichick was Edelman earning Tom Brady’s trust.
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Edelman eventually did so and then some, as he was a key contributor to three Super Bowl-winning teams in New England. But before the days of hoisting Lombardi Trophies, Edelman was regularly catching earfuls from Brady.
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“No one was harder on Julian than Tom,” former Patriots quarterback Brian Hoyer said on Barstool Sports’ “Pardon My Take” podcast. “Julian and I came in together as rookies. I’ll never forget, Wes (Welker) would run a route and Tom would throw it and be like, ‘Good job, babe.’ Julian would do, like, the exact same steps and he’d (Brady) be like, ‘Julian, what the (expletive)? You know I told you to do this!’ Julian would walk back like, ‘I did it the same. I did it the same.’ It paid off, you know what I mean? It earned Tom’s trust.”
Edelman has been open about how arduous the process was to become a favorite target of Brady’s. In fact, the Super Bowl LIII once was moved to tears after the legendary quarterback chirped him at practice.
But as Hoyer touched on, all those days in Brady’s doghouse made Edelman a better player. And now, the 11-year vet will be fondly remembered as one of the best wideouts in Patriots history.
Featured image via Eric Canha/USA TODAY Sports Images