Patriots

Check out Julian Edelman’s NSFW cover for ESPN’s ‘Body Issue’

Along with Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas, Patriots receiver Julian Edelman will grace the pages of ESPN’s “Body Issue.” And much like Thomas, Edelman left very little to the imagination in his photoshoot.

ESPN posted a short, looping video Friday of Edelman mid-stride, football in hand, with nary an item of clothing to be found.

The sports giant also posted a lengthy interview and accompanying video with Edelman, in which the receiver talks about his guilty-pleasure food, the exercises he does that helped him make his spectacular Super Bowl 51 catch, and his biggest worry about posing for the issue.

“What did you say when you were asked to do the ‘Body Issue’?” an off-screen interviewer asks Edelman.

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“I said, ‘Will the room be cold?'” Edelman says. “Or will it be warm?”

Edelman admits in the video that burgers were his guilty pleasure, and posed for a few photos with a burger in hand. But after an offseason full of celebrating, he said that he needed to kickstart his training.

“Sometimes you eat a little too many hamburgers [laughs] and have a little too much fun after a season and you start feeling a little slacky,” Edelman told ESPN. “But the older you get, the more you realize how precious it is to be in the National Football League, and you see all the young talent and the guys who are grinding. So I firmly believe you think about that, and the best way of staying in shape is never getting out of shape.”

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Julian Edelman is photographed by photographer Peggy Sirota at the Willow Studios in Los Angeles on April 7 for the “Body Issue.”

Edelman said that while part of his miracle Super Bowl 51 catch was luck, there were two specific exercises that helped him be prepared for that play.

“When I’m tired, I like to go and do drills where you catch tennis balls off walls,” Edelman said. “Different colors use different hands, and you’ve got to react to those types of things at different angles. I do all these crazy reaction-time things or reaction skills with tennis balls every morning, or at least four times a week. After that catch in the Super Bowl, I go up to the guy who throws for me — he’s one of our equipment guys — and I go, ‘It’s because of the tennis balls!’ It’s because you’re reacting so quick. It all helps you out in the end.”

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The other exercise Edelman credited for helping his catching ability involved buckets of rice.

“I’ll do a circuit of hand exercises in rice buckets. I’ll swoosh my fingers from right to left [in the rice] for 20 seconds, 30 seconds. And then you go swoosh them in the other direction,” he said. “And then you grab and claw the rice and you rotate your wrists so you’re getting different movements in the fingers. And then I’ll go and I’ll dig to the bottom, all the way to the bottom of the bucket and you come back up. So you’re doing that for 30 seconds. Then you’re doing pianos where you just go and you just piano the rice, like you’ve got two chords, for 30 seconds. Then you grab some rice and squeeze it as hard as you can for 30 seconds.”

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Edelman also stopped by ESPN’s First Take on Friday to discuss his appearance in the issue.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oEvEln9Yfcc