Julian Edelman is happy with his post-playing career.
He’s also not closing the door on putting it on pause.
The longtime New England Patriots wideout retired following the 2020 campaign, a year in which he was limited to just six games due to injury. Since hanging up the cleats he’s launched a media career, which soon will include a podcast to go with his work as a studio analyst.
Edelman turned 36 in May and says he's feeling good physically. Appearing Tuesday on the "Rich Eisen Show", he didn't dismiss the possibility of a midseason return.
"I’ll tell you right now, if I had three weeks, three maybe four weeks, start of the season, absolutely not," Edelman said. "But if there’s a team vying for a playoff run, guy goes down, could I get ready? I mean, I probably could."
Could is one thing. Wanting is another. Does he want to come back?
“I mean, that depends on the situation at that time," Edelman said. "Right now I’m looking forward to ‘Games with Names’, we’re about to launch an unbelievable podcast, I’ve got 'Inside the NFL' streaming on Paramount+ of course, so I’ve got that coming. ...
"Hey, you never say never. But I’m excited for the opportunities I have coming on my plate right now. If any of those situations come up, of course you’ve got to take a look at them."
This could be a calculated move on Edelman’s part. He’s going on a media tour to boost promotion for his podcast, and getting himself back into the news cycle with unretirement rumors is a good way to drum up interest. It wouldn’t be the worst business play.
It’s also possible he’s in a place now where Rob Gronkowski was after his retirement. The tight end needed time away from the game, but once his body finally felt healthy he came back and delivered two more decent seasons. Perhaps Edelman, now feeling good, has gotten the itch once again.
Ultimately Edelman’s approach that he mentioned to Eisen makes the most sense. He’s got a lot of mileage on those tires, and only played full seasons in two of his final five years in the NFL. Returning later in the season for a stretch run would make far more sense than trotting him out for 17 regular-season games, especially with the role he plays.
And for what it’s worth, he did say not that long ago that if he did ever come back it would be with the Patriots, not the Bucs.