Patriots Legend Admits Nearly Leaving to Join Hated Rival: ‘F*** Belichick’

Getty Bill Belichick, New England Patriots

The historic, exclusively New England Patriots career of Julian Edelman almost took a very different turn in 2013. In the upcoming edition of A Football Life that focuses on Edelman’s career (h/t Zack Cox of NESN), the future Patriots Hall of Famer reveals some stunning feelings about a pivotal season during his New England tenure.

Julian Edleman Felt Betrayed By Bill Belichick and the Organization

Following the exit of Wes Welker, Edelman believed he was in line to move into the Patriots’ coveted slot-receiver role.

It’s a role that saw Welker average 112 receptions, 1243 receiving yards, and just over 6 TDs per season during his six years with the Patriots. Edelman had worked his way up to inheriting the role, or so he thought, and he had labored to earn Tom Brady’s trust.

However, Bill Belichick elected to sign free-agent wide receiver Danny Amendola during that offseason.

“I was hurt,” Edelman said. “I did everything Coach (Bill Belichick) said, gave four years of my life, and then (the Patriots sign Amendola). I’m not going to lie, I was pissed off. I was like, ‘Dude, you’re coming to take my keys to the Cadillac? Dog, what’s going on? I’m over here on a minimum deal. This guy’s getting $34 mil?’ “

In actuality, the deal Amendola signed was a five-year pact worth $28.5 million. Up to that point, Edleman hadn’t really accomplished much in the league, at least on Sundays, where stats and Super Bowl wins are calculated.

At the time of Amendola’s signing, Edelman had accumulated just 69 passes over the first four years of his career. However, because he’d worked his way up from seventh-round pick and special-teamer who had to scratch and claw for every opportunity, Edelman felt the Patriots were elevating an outsider into the spot he believed he’d earned.

“Looking back on it, I had nothing,” Edelman said. “I (had done) nothing in the league. But as a kid, as a young guy, experiencing that for the first time, I was like, ‘(Expletive) Belichick. (Expletive) the Patriots. I hate everyone here. How are you going to do this to me?’ I took a visit to the New York Giants, and they offered me a contract.”

Staying a Patriot

Edelman ultimately elected to stay in New England on a lesser deal. He cited the connection he’d built with Brady, and he didn’t want to risk trying to have a solid season on a one-year contract with the Giants where the team and quarterback weren’t as familiar with him.

Things worked out in Edelman’s favor. Amendola battled a groin injury, and Rob Gronkowski was also hobbled in the 2013 season. Edelman became Brady’s No. 1 passing option that season. The former set a career-high in receptions with 105 that season and never looked back.

Over the next seven seasons, Edelman averaged 78 receptions, 872 receiving yards, and 4.5 TDs per year. He wasn’t quite as productive as Welker had been during his career. Much of that was due to injury, as Edelman missed 24 games over that timespan.

Still, Edelman will one day be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame to commemorate his stellar career, which is highlighted by three Super Bowl rings and an MVP award from Super Bowl LIII. Perhaps none of that would have happened had he gone to the Giants.

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