Julian Edelman’s sports documentary, 100% Julian Edelman, has earned praise for its unconventional approach to a familiar format and a light-hearted tone that demonstrates its subject doesn’t take himself too seriously.
The film follows the New England Patriots receiver’s effort to recover from a torn ACL injury in his left knee and return to play in the NFL. Along the way, however, Edelman made a decision that cost him the first four games of the 2018 season when he tested positive for a performance-enhancing substance.
For some, that development calls some of Edelman’s achievements into question. Did he do everything the right way in trying to come back to football? Would he have been able to recover from his injury and reach the highest level of play, including an MVP performance in Super Bowl LIII, without the benefit of PEDs? Such questions could hang over Edelman for the rest of his career, whether taking PEDs was a mistake in judgment or not.
Edelman appeared on Bleacher Report’s new The Lefkoe Show to promote his documentary and during the interview, host Adam Lefkoe asked him about failing the PED test. For someone who has always had to take “the long way,” as Lefkoe puts it, playing in junior college and making it to the NFL as a seventh-round draft pick, how did Edelman feel about the perception that he took a shortcut to success with PEDs?
“I’ve been dealing with someone saying something my whole life,” said Edelman. What exactly he means by that is unclear, though the implication seems to be that he’s always fought against doubts in going from football at the junior college level to Division I play, and then to the NFL.
Edelman hints at a bit of insight, indicating that he needed to get to a certain place and made a decision regarding how he’d reach that point. Not worrying about the consequences could be what he meant by maintaining a “laser focus” on his goal. But then he tries to get past the subject by saying “Things happen; that’s life.”
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Clearly, Edelman wants to move on. Considering he served his penalty from the NFL, he should arguably be allowed to. Yet Edelman has also invited scrutiny into that decision by making a documentary about that period of his life, which includes the time when he was suspended for PEDs.
In addition to the four-game suspension, the positive PED test also affected Edelman’s relationship with his father. As Lefkoe mentions, Edelman didn’t speak with his father for 81 days after the suspension was revealed. Frank Edelman played a crucial role in his son’s football development and his path to the NFL. To learn that his son cheated and didn’t discuss that decision with him was obviously upsetting.
Some will likely criticize 100% Julian Edelman for not delving further into the PED suspension and the thought process which led up to it. It’s a fair criticism, considering the access that Edelman allows into so many aspects of his life for the documentary. Yet he’s also the one telling the story and controlling the message that’s released to the public.
You can watch Edelman’s entire interview with Lefkoe here: