Tom Brady made it official on Tuesday morning – he is not returning to the New England Patriots for a 21st season. Brady’s exit has sent a ripple effect through the NFL, and obviously through Patriots Nation. Most Patriots players aren’t commenting at this moment, as the Boston Herald’s Karen Guregian noted, as they don’t want to steal the G.O.A.T’s shine.
Respecting the G.O.A.T
However, Brady’s long-time friend, teammate and another one of the team’s most beloved players, Julian Edelman did take to social media to pay his respects to his departing teammate. All Edelman needed was one word to express his feelings for the QB who played such a major role in his career.
Julian Edelman Sums it Up With One Word
Julian Edelman’s Patriots Career
When Edelman was drafted by the Patriots in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, it was unclear what his role with the team would be. He played quarterback in college, but also displayed excellent athleticism and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands.
The Patriots brass saw a fit for him as a slot receiver and punt returner, in much the same role Wes Welker had played with the team for years. When Edelman got to New England, the team still had Welker and Randy Moss, so it didn’t need him to contribute in a major way at first.
However, in 2013, the team didn’t re-sign Welker and instead kept Edelman who stepped into the role the multiple-time Pro-Bowler had played for Brady and the team. Edelman had not only earned the coaches’ respect, but he’d also proven his worth with Brady.
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Julian Edelman & Tom Brady Connection
During a 2016 interview with former Patriots’ assistant Chad O’Shea, he talked about Edelman’s maturation, work ethic and connection with Brady. It tells a lot about how deep their relationship became over their 11 years together.
“The relationship and trust the receivers have to earn with Tom doesn’t happen overnight. It really doesn’t,” O’Shea said. “There are so many aspects that Tom requires to earn his trust. It’s always an ongoing work in progress. Those guys work very hard to get on the same page. No one has worked harder to earn that right than Julian.
He’s worked very hard over several years to build that trust and rapport. They [Brady and Edelman] have a great relationship. It’s really neat to have seen it grow over the years. Obviously, Julian came in as a guy just trying to make the team. Now, he’s built an established role and is a major contributor to what we do every week. Tom relies on him and trusts him greatly.”
The organization is going through some sweeping changes this offseason. There are several Patriots players who will miss Brady’s presence in the locker room, on the sidelines, and on the field, but perhaps no one will miss him as much as Edelman.