After 11 accomplished seasons - all for the Patriots - receiver Julian Edelman has officially retired from the NFL. Having to undergo knee surgery halfway through the 2020 campaign, the 34-year old was unable to return despite having the designation to do so last December. This ultimately led to Edelman's announcement Monday afternoon, in a video posted to his personal social media channels shortly after New England terminated his contract for a failed physical.
The former quarterback convert out of Kent State is leaving quite the legacy behind. He was a three-time Super Bowl champion and the MVP of the Patriots' 13-3 victory over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII. Quickly becoming the favorite target of quarterback Tom Brady, Edelman caught 620 of his 941 targets for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdown receptions in his career.
While the Seahawks didn't see much of Edelman - just three times in 12 seasons - he always proved to be a thorn in their collective sides. Missing his first opportunity to play against Seattle in a Week 6 matchup in 2012, better known as the 'U Mad, Bro?' game and quarterback Russell Wilson's coming out party, Edelman more than made up for lost time a little over two years later in Super Bowl XLIX.
Despite being on the receiving end of a nasty head-to-head hit from safety Kam Chancellor, Edelman was curiously cleared to keep playing in the game. That proved to be a game-defining storyline, given the bearded wideout went on to score the go-ahead touchdown in the Patriots' eventual 28-24 win. In all, he led the team in receiving yards with 109 on nine catches in his first of three championship-clinching games.
The Seahawks took their next two matchups against New England - Edelman's last against them - but neither victory, of course, could mend the heartbreak of their previous encounter. Edelman still gave them problems in both games, first putting up 99 yards on seven catches in Seattle's 31-24 win in 2016 while leading the Patriots' passing attack alongside tight end Martellus Bennett.
Then in Week 2 of last season, in just his second game without Brady throwing to him, Edelman still looked as effective as ever. Now catching passes from Cam Newton, he exploded for a career-high 179 yards on Sunday Night Football. Though the Seahawks came out with a 35-30 win on a dramatic goal-line stand, Edelman's sensational night proved to be his swan song, punctuated by a 49-yard diving grab with safety Jamal Adams trailing him in the third quarter.
While Seattle fans likely don't have many positive feelings towards Edelman, particularly after he openly mocked the team during the Patriots' Super Bowl XLIX parade, there's no denying his greatness on the field. The Seahawks saw it firsthand every single time they faced him, in which he significantly impacted some of the most iconic games in Seattle's recent history.