‘Foxboro forever’: Julian Edelman announces retirement after being released by Patriots

Edelman won three Super Bowls in 11 seasons with New England and was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII.

Patriots Julian Edelman
Julian Edelman celebrates a touchdown catch against the Kansas City Chiefs. Matthew J. Lee/Globe staff

After years of battling injuries, Patriots great Julian Edelman is calling it quits after an improbable career.

Edelman officially announced his retirement in a pre-recorded farewell video at Gillette Stadium posted on social media shortly after the Patriots released him with a failed physical designation.

“I have always said that I am going to go until the wheels come off,” he said in the video. “They have finally fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I will be making my official announcement of my retirement from football.”

The longtime Patriots receiver has been rehabbing in an attempt to return after chronic knee issues forced him off the field in 2020 after just five games. Edelman likely would have missed at least part of the 2021 season if he returned.

Head coach Bill Belichick released a glowing statement about his longtime receiver on the team’s website following the news.

“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career — wins, championships, production — Julian has it all,” Belichick said. “Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances.

“For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”

A former college quarterback at Kent State, Edelman joined the Patriots as a seventh-round pick in the 2009 NFL Draft and learned how to play as a slot receiver alongside the likes of Wes Welker. Once Welker departed after the 2012 season, Edelman blossomed into a star in his own right, racking up three 1,000-yard receiving seasons catching passes from Tom Brady.

Edelman finishes his Patriots career with 620 catches for 6,822 receiving yards and 36 touchdowns, three Super Bowl rings, and a Super Bowl MVP. He also completed a perfect six out of six career passes, including one touchdown.

“It was a hell of a run. I can’t forget you, Patriots Nation. You welcomed me and my family to a region that we didn’t know but now I am one of you,” Edelman added. “Foxboro forever.”

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