A few days have passed since Julian Edelman left Friday’s preseason game with the New England Patriots and the Detroit Lions after suffering a season-ending ACL injury and the team’s star wide receiver has finally broken his silence. In an Instagram message posted Tuesday morning, Edelman addressed Patriots’ fans, thanking them for their support and vowing to come back “stronger than ever.”
Edelman, who exited Friday night’s game early in the first quarter, was New England’s leading receiver last season, finishing with 98 receptions and over 1100 yards. Over the course of his career, Edelman has become Tom Brady’s most trusted weapon on a team full of accomplished and talented offensive threats. Brady also took to Instagram to pay tribute to Edelman following his injury and news of what it meant broke.
On Monday morning Brady appeared on Boston sports radio station WEEI and when asked about Edelman’s injury, opened up more than he usually does.
“It’s a challenging part of the job, it really is,” Brady said. “In my 18th year, it certainly isn’t that easy. I don’t think you should take those things well. You hate to see guys get injured. You hate to see guys that you’ve had so much experience with get injured. I think just because there is so much dependability and trust. You’ve been through these things. You know what you can count on. I think it was pretty tough. That was a tough night for me the other night, and it still is.”
From a team perspective, the Patriots’ offense should still be one of the best in the league, even with Edelman being sidelined. Their wide receiving corps was already incredibly deep thanks in large part to the offseason addition of Brandin Cooks, who was brought over from New Orleans, and the team has no shortage of players who can step in to fill Edelman’s spot, whether it’s one of their versatile running backs or undrafted rookie wide receiver Austin Carr, who has had a few big moments this preseason.
Replacing Edelman’s intangibles is a totally different story though and there’s no question that the Patriots will miss his leadership and toughness. Both of those qualities were on full display during the team’s miraculous comeback in Super Bowl LI as they came back to beat the Atlanta Falcons in overtime. Edelman had one of the game’s most exciting plays when he somehow held on to make a catch on the Patriots’ game-tying drive.
Edelman was a quarterback for Kent State and was drafted in the seventh round (232rd overall) in the 2009 draft. Since then he has been a jack-of-trades for New England, playing defensive back, kick and punt returner in addition to wide receiver. During a 2015 playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens, Edelman threw a touchdown pass to fellow wide receiver Danny Amendola. The touchdown tied the game and helped the Patriots go on to beat the Ravens.
New England’s final preseason game is Thursday August 31 against the New York Giants. They open the regular season and begin their Super Bowl defense against the Kansas City Chiefs on Thursday September 7th.