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ATLANTA, GEORGIA - FEBRUARY 03: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after his teams 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams during Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on February 03, 2019 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

Late Monday afternoon, as word of Julian Edelman’s release and subsequent retirement launched an unending string of tributes and ongoing debate about Hall of Fame worthiness into the Twitter sphere, I put my iPhone down and started scrolling through the timeline of the past eight years.

Why eight, and not the dozen since the Patriots drafted Edelman in 2009?

Personally, that’s how long I was privileged to describe (well, try to describe) his play on radio. More importantly, it’s a period that begins at a pivotal juncture, when Julian drastically altered his individual narrative and served to silence prevailing talking points about his team.

Think about where he, the team and we all were a week into the 2013 season, as questions about the Pats were amplified and criticisms sharpened over airwaves and in print.

Wes Welker, whose acrimonious exit from Foxborough had become daily fodder for local sports talk callers and hosts alike, was coming off nine catches and two touchdowns in his Denver debut. Meanwhile, Danny Amendola, signed as Welker’s presumed replacement to a five-year, $31 million deal, despite an injury-plagued past, was hurt again, having torn a groin muscle in Buffalo.

Eight weeks in, the backlash over one free agent’s departure and another’s arrival became even more embittered. Welker’s 9 touchdowns in the Broncos’ record-setting 2013 offense had already tied a career-high. At the same time, Amendola’s games missed equaled his games played.

“It’s been a total failure,” one prominent radio voice declared, his words echoed by many others. Including his co-host, who proclaimed, “The Patriots are getting their asses kicked on this one.”

The Emergence

You can hear Bob Socci on the call of the game on every game day for the New England Patriots, right here on 98.5 The Sports Hub. You can also hear him on his own The Gridiron And Beyond podcast at 985TheSportsHub.com.