Julian Edelman, a former legend for the New England Patriots, has made it clear that a return to the NFL or the Patriots is not entirely out of the question.
At a Sunset Media Festival in Croatia, Edelman said, “We’re staying in shape, but you never know. I’d probably go back to the Patriots. I love the Patriots. Foxborough forever.”
Revisiting Edelman’s Decision To Retire
Once Edelman failed his physical with the Patriots in April of 2021, the team terminated the remainder of his contract, ultimately forcing the former Super Bowl MVP to retire. Despite recent events and the conditions of his retirement, it seems like Edelman had a lot more left to give to New England.
The ultimate cause of the failed physical was Edelman’s gruesome knee injury that was a cause of typical wear-and-tear in the NFL combined with aging. Knee problems, especially at Edelman’s age of 36, have been the cause of premature retirement in the past for hundreds of players. So until recently, Edelman was bound to head down that familiar path.
Edelman’s catch against the Falcons is one of the most iconic plays in Super Bowl history (via Business Insider)
What Would Edelman Bring In A Hypothetical Return To Foxboro?
I do not doubt that if Jules were to return, his contributions to the team would be much more controlled and limited than before. Space on the receiving chart is getting smaller and smaller by the day, and Edelman’s most likely position on the team would have to be related to Special Teams.
In minicamp last week, Mark Daniels reported on Twitter that the Patriots were experimenting with several candidates to return punts and kicks. Assuming Edelman would make his surprise return, he would be added to this mix of players. For all of the forgetful fans reading this, Edelman was one of the best at returning punts and kicks, and I’m sure he still has some of that magic left in him.
We saw Kendrick Bourne, Malcolm Perry, Tre Nixon and Jack Jones practicing punt returns today — Mark Daniels (@MarkDanielsPJ) June 8, 2022
Besides contributions exclusively viewed on TV, Edelman could bring valuable insight to the younger guys on the sidelines and during practice. Veterans have wise brains that were molded from the decisions of their younger selves, and Edelman is no exception.
Could Edelman Return In a Non-Player Role?
I could see Edelman possibly coming in as a receivers coach, offensive assistant, or even special teams assistant. Edelman’s advanced understanding of the game is not always found in Head Coaches and Coordinators who have never played professionally.
It is always essential for organizations to provide a mixture of former players within the coaching staff to create the most player-friendly environment. Without the proper balance, coaches may often misunderstand the needs of their players, leading to more and more problems down the road. An Edelman return as a coach may avoid some of these issues.
Additionally, Edelman could also serve as a help to Bill Belichick. Belichick is great friends with Julian, and Belichick has shown in the past that he likes hiring his friends to help out with the team.
Julian Edelman during training camp (via Pats Pulpit)
I am a little hesitant to thoroughly encourage this decision from #11 due to his chronic knee problems that continued to arise during his career. Knee issues combined with age never go over well in the NFL, especially for wide receivers.
Edelman should get the opinions of multiple well-known sports physicians before he even thinks about a return because a premature arrival back to the league can open the door to dozens of new health problems. Another injury is the last thing fans need to see happen to a beloved member of Patriots Nation.
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