Julian Edelman retired as one of the most decorated Patriots of all-time, finishing his Foxboro tenure with three championships, a Super Bowl MVP award and a play for the ages, somehow eluding three Falcons defenders for one of the greatest catches you’ll ever see. Edelman, whose 620 receptions are second-most to Wes Welker in franchise history, will forever be a New England icon, but, as revealed in an upcoming documentary, he nearly threw it all away, almost joining a hated rival out of spite for Bill Belichick.
When Welker signed with the Broncos as a free agent in 2013, Edelman had anticipated inheriting his role as the team’s primary slot receiver. The Patriots instead pivoted to Danny Amendola, luring him away from St. Louis on a five-year, $28-million contract. Enraged by this betrayal, Edelman visited the Giants, who the Patriots had previously lost to in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, and had every intention to sign with them, until a sudden change of heart led him back to New England.
“I was hurt,” Edelman admitted. “I did everything Coach 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 the keys to my Cadillac? Dog, what’s going on?’ I’m over here on a minimum deal. This guy’s getting $34 mil?”
Playing with a chip on his shoulder, Edelman would enjoy a breakout season in 2013, filling the void left by Welker with 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. Edelman’s resentment and hostility toward the Patriots would eventually subside, though not before giving the Giants serious consideration.
“I was like f--- Belichick. F--- the Patriots. I hate everyone here. How are you going to do this to me?” said Edelman, as transcribed by NESN’s Zack Cox. “I took a visit to the New York Giants, and they offered me a contract.”
A prolific playoff performer, only Hall-of-Famer Jerry Rice has more postseason receiving yards than Edelman, whose life will be chronicled in “Julian Edelman: A Football Life,” premiering Friday night at 9 PM ET on NFL Network.