New England Patriots

  • Retired Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman did not miss football in 2021.

    The injuries Edelman played through were still fresh in his mind and body, and it was nice to finally take a step back and breathe. But now, with some serious recovery time on his side, it sounds as if the lifelong Patriot is beginning to seriously consider the possibility of an NFL comeback.

    And appearing on The Green Light with Chris Long podcast, Edelman’s former teammate asked him straight-up if he’s been working out with the intentions of making a return to the NFL in 2022.

  • “That’s what I’m trying to figure out, you know?” Edelman, who has jumped right into the media game with his own podcast and appearances on Inside The NFL, admitted to Long. “People don’t realize it’s not like — especially when you’re older — you can’t just work out for a week, take a Gatorade shake, go run a conditioning test, and then get ready for [expletive] 18 weeks of football. It’s a huge mind commitment.

    “And you can’t dip your toe in. You’ve gotta dive into that thing.”

  • FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 23: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots catches a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 23, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – AUGUST 23: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots catches a pass during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 23, 2020. (Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

  • Listen, all I’m saying is that I definitely didn’t hear a ‘no’ in there.

    And lucky for our racing minds already rushing to bust those No. 11 jerseys out, Edelman shed more light on the physical and mental process of any potential comeback.

    “I’m doing things where I’m in like a beginning phase of an offseason-ish [program],” Edelman said. “Just kind of feeling out my body and feeling out my legs. I’ve had some downtime. My body feels good. There’s some deficiencies here and there, but I feel extremely better than I did the last year and a half of my career.

    I don’t know if it’s fool’s gold just because I haven’t been compounding loadage. That’s why you get interested. So you kick it up a little bit here and there and you analyze. You don’t make decisions. And that’s what I’m doing.”

  • FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 27: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium on September 27, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 27: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Las Vegas Raiders at Gillette Stadium. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

  • And it’s worth noting that this is not the first time Edelman has talked about a comeback.

    Asked about a potential return last June, Edelman offered a ‘little teaser’ and noted that he’s staying in shape. Edelman later told Rich Eisen that he’d ‘never say never’ to the idea of joining a team for a midseason push, and discussed the idea of a comeback with Ryen Russillo last week.

    “You do get a little curious, if you know what I mean,” Edelman told Russillo. “But there would have to be a lot of things to happen for me to go out and really consider something like that. It’s not just a, ‘Alright, let’s put the cleats on and go to the grass and practice.’ Like there’s a whole, whole leading up to getting ready for an NFL season, especially when you’re at the age of 36 and you missed a year.

    “I’d have to evaluate some things. But the curiosity is there. I just don’t know the percentage.”

    No matter the ‘percentage’ at play, Edelman does have the support of a former teammate who, like Edelman, battled injuries and enjoyed post-football life before ultimately coming out of retirement.

  • As Edelman himself noted during his multiple podcast and show appearances, the idea of coming out of retirement and being an impact player at 36 years old seems like a pipe dream.

    The injuries are an obvious concern, too, as Edelman’s career was by all means ended by a serious knee injury. Oh, and he went through 13 (13!) separate surgeries throughout his New England career.

    Edelman has also been forthright about not returning and being a complete shell of what he was, as he already dealt with that during his final season in the league, with injuries that limited him to just six games to go with 21 catches (on 39 targets) and 315 yards.

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 13: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium on September 13, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS – SEPTEMBER 13: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up before the game against the Miami Dolphins at Gillette Stadium. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

    But, if Edelman were to make a serious attempt at a comeback for the 2022 season, New England can take comfort in knowing it would almost certainly be with the Patriots, with Edelman saying ‘Foxborough Forever’ when discussing that very subject back in June.