5 things we learned from the new Julian Edelman documentary

"I was terrified of him. Everyone was."

Frank Edelman and Julian Edelman in 100% JULIAN EDELMAN.
Frank Edelman and Julian Edelman in "100% Julian Edelman." –Courtesy of Showtime

The tone for Julian Edelman’s new documentary is set from the very first scene when actor Mark Wahlberg sits down for an interview.

“There is only one thing harder than reaching the top: Staying there,” Wahlberg said. “Look, nobody is born with greatness, you gotta fight for it every single day.”

“This is the story of Julian Edelman,” Wahlberg continued. “Wait, what?”

“100%: Julian Edelman,” which debuts 9 p.m. Friday on Showtime, is an alternately humorous and inspiring look at the wide receiver’s life, mostly filmed during the time Edelman was recovering from a torn ACL in 2017 and 2018.

Celebrities like Wahlberg, Snoop Dogg, and actor Michael Rapaport both praise and mock Edelman, and there’s a running gag about teammate Tom Brady being too big of a superstar to sit down for an interview. For the most part, however, the film explores how Edelman, like Brady, has always perceived himself as an underdog and played with a chip on his shoulder as a result.

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While the documentary doesn’t offer many revealing insights about Edelman’s professional or personal life, there are still nuggets to be gleaned from its 73 minutes, especially about the wide receiver’s relationship with his father, Frank.

Here are five things we learned from watching “100%: Julian Edelman.”

1. Edelman grew up “terrified” of his dad.

Edelman’s father, Frank, is almost a second lead character in the documentary from the moment he’s introduced. An auto shop owner in Mountain View, Calif., who coached Edelman in Pop Warner, Frank was a strict disciplinarian.

“I was terrified of him,” Edelman said. “Everyone was.”

Frank ran his son through rigorous, difficult drills designed to get under his skin. He would make him run drills blindfolded, make him catch six balls at once, or have his daughter throw a towel in Edelman’s face just as he threw a football as hard as he could at him.

“He used to get so mad at me,” Frank said in the documentary. “We’d fight. It was abusive. Then we’d go home and do homework.”

While Frank’s tactics may have been brutal, Edelman conceded that they ultimately made him the man he is today.

“Looking back, that’s a lot,” Edelman said. “But I wouldn’t be where I’m at without it, so I appreciate the push.”

Julian Edelman dad Frank mom Angie
Frank Edelman, Angie Edelman and Julian Edelman. —Courtesy of Showtime

2. Edelman was only 5 feet tall until late in high school.

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According to Frank, his son basically stopped growing at around age 11, and when he headed to high school, he was just 5 feet tall.

“High school was a struggle,” Frank said. “He’d come in the room, cry, “Dad, when am I gonna grow?”

It wasn’t until after his junior year, when Edelman grew around 8 inches and added 50 pounds to his frame, that he was truly able to compete again.

“When the senior year came, all hell broke loose,” Frank said.

3. Edelman was inspired by Brady while growing up.

Edelman was born in Redwood City, Calif., less than 10 miles from where Brady was raised in San Mateo. After high school, Edelman spent a season playing quarterback at the College of San Mateo, a community college in Brady’s hometown.

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After visiting the college and some of its current football players in the documentary, Edelman talked about the “aura” that surrounded Brady when he was growing up.

“Every day, he gave you that kind of motivation that a guy from around here went the long road,” Edelman said. “You know, who always had to compete, always had to scratch and gnaw to get to where he got. It gave you that sense of hope, that faith, that you could do it.”

4. Edelman was “blacked out” the night before a momentous offseason workout with Brady.

During the 2010 offseason, Brady was training in Los Angeles with players like Wes Welker, Rob Gronkowski, and Shane Vereen, and Edelman was determined to get an invite to run routes for the signal caller. As the days went by, Edelman kept texting his agent trying to get Brady to reach out. A month after Edelman had relocated to Los Angeles, the quarterback called him at 9 a.m. on a Saturday morning, telling him to come to UCLA at noon.

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“Yeah Tom, Saturday,” Edelman said, recalling that day. “Alright, I’m coming. I just got blacked out the night before.”

Nevertheless, Edelman showed up an hour early and ran every route Brady told him to.

“Jules was just, he was always on hand,” Brady said. “And I think he made himself available. Whatever he had to do to get time with me. If I needed someone to work with, he was gonna be one.”

Brady said that those offseason workouts helped to form the bond the two share today.

“That time together, when I look back, was so great for the two of us,” Brady said. “Like I said, we developed a friendship, but an on-field chemistry too.”

5. Edelman and his dad stopped talking after his PED suspension.

As he neared returning to the field after his ACL tear, Edelman received word from the NFL that he would be suspended for four games for violating the league’s performance-enhancing drugs policy. When Edelman called his dad to explain, they had a “different stance” on how to deal with the situation.

“Frank was very upset,” Edelman’s mother, Angie, said. “Jules didn’t want his dad a part of this process. He was handling it with his attorneys, and my husband doesn’t understand that sometimes.”

According to the documentary, the pair didn’t communicate for 81 days.

“Me and my dad talk every day,” Edelman said, “And after that, we didn’t talk for awhile.”

“100%: Julian Edelman” airs 9 p.m. Friday, June 28, on Showtime.