The New England Patriots will honor former WR Julian Edelman in a special halftime ceremony of this week’s game against the New Orleans Saints. Edelman, who announced his retirement after 12 seasons with New England this past spring, played his entire career in a Patriots uniform. During that time, he not only provided stellar play on the field, but also delivered some of the most treasured moments in the history of the franchise.
In anticipation of what is certain to be an exciting and emotional day in Foxboro, Edelman sat down for a virtual meeting with reporters to reflect on his Patriots career, offer his thoughts on the future of the franchise, and express his feelings on Sunday’s halftime ceremony.
Here are some highlights from Edelman’s Thursday afternoon meet with the media:
On his feeling regarding Sunday's ceremony:
“It’s definitely going to hit my soul. It will be the first time I see the guys and not play with them. It is going to be interesting, and [to be honest] I don’t know what to expect. I am an emotional guy…I've had so many memories here. It will be so cool to see the fans. But, I couldn’t be any more thankful for the team, the organization and the Kraft family."
On whether he will provide the fans with one more sprint out of the tunnel on Sunday:
"Have to see how the knee feels…We'll see. We always keep a couple tricks up the sleeve."
On his thoughts regarding the 2021 Patriots:
“They’re looking pretty good, for the amount of new players that they have. From free agents that they've signed, they are producing. Mac [Jones] is playing pretty well. You can see that baby steps are progressing and I'm excited for the coaches and team to keep that going.”
On his advice to rookie quarterback Mac Jones:
“I would say, ‘Take pride in being the next generation.’ …Worry about what you got on your plate right now and really put on the blinders...he looks like a poised, calm, cool, collected kid. He looks like he's doing alright."
On former teammate and roommate Matthew Slater:
“Those were some of the best times of my career in NE. To be able to live with Matthew and share those years with him…I honestly feel like I wouldn't be where I am without having him in my life. He was a great role model for me.”
On looking ahead to the Patriots Week Four matchup with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
“It's exciting to think about. Will be exciting to see Tom [Brady] and Gronk [Rob Gronkowski] come back to Foxboro. It's going to be electric, but I'm looking forward to the game this week.”
On watching Tom Brady play against the Patriots:
“It’s going to be weird. It’s kind of like going to a family barbecue and you're the kid who has divorced parents and you don't know how to react. You think ‘Will it be weird?’ It’s going to be interesting, but I'm excited…who's not excited for it…it will be an exciting game.”
On his rooting interest for the Bucs/Pats game on October 3:
“Foxboro, man. I want the Patriots to win, but I want Tom and Gronk to do well too. Most importantly for everyone to stay healthy…maybe a little Mac comes out at the end…(*pauses for reflection*)…But, I'm in the media now, so I really can't be taking sides right now for the integrity of the art of being an analyst. I’m going to have to take the 5th on that one.”
On his transition to television (as an analyst on Inside The NFL):
"It's a cool transition for an athlete. When you get in with your co-hosts, you kind of have a little locker room...it fills that void. But, it gives me a ‘respect’ for what you all [reporters] do so much more now.”
On what Patriots head coach Bill Belichick has meant to him:
"I have a crazy amount of respect for Coach Belichick, I love the guy. He ultimately was the guy who gave me the opportunity to fulfill a dream of mine. I've learned so much from him."
On retiring as a Patriot:
"It's like a dream. I always loved the guys that played on one team."
On the Patriots organization:
“This will always be my home.”