BOSTON (WPRI) ─ Three-time Super Bowl champion Julian Edelman has played his last down, not only as a New England Patriot, but as an NFL player.
Edelman, 34, posted a video on Twitter Monday evening announcing his plan to retire from the NFL, just hours after the NFL transaction wire said he was cut from the Patriots due to a failed physical.
“I’ve always said, ‘I’m going to go until the wheels fall off,’ and they have finally fallen off,” Edelman said, referring to a knee injury he suffered last year and has been trying to bounce back from ever since.
The star wide receiver only played six games last year and spent the rest of the season on injured reserve following a procedure on his knee.
“It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family,” Edelman said. “I am honored and so proud to be retiring a Patriot.”
Edelman spent 12 years with the Patriots and was crowned Super Bowl LIII MVP after they defeated the Los Angeles Rams, 13-3.
In a statement following Edelman’s announcement, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick said it was a privledge to coach him and called him an “ultimate competitor.”
“By any measure of what constitutess 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,” he continued. “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.”
Edelman joined the Patriots in 2009 as a seventh-round draft pick. He was drafted as a wide receiver, even though the Kent State University product spent his college years as a quarterback.
Patriots owner Robert Kraft called Edelman “one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history.”
“There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before,” Kraft said. “No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite.”
Edelman will likely be inducted into the Patriots Hall of Fame, but won’t be eligible for a red jacket until 2025.