Julian Edelman announced whether he will join Tom Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in five simple words on Thursday, ending months of speculation.
“I’m a one-team guy,” Edelman said on The Michael Irvin Podcast.
Edelman said it in response to being asked about whether he would join the Bucs if healthy. He spent his whole 12-year career with the New England Patriots, including 11 with Brady.
Returning doesn’t look realistic anytime soon, confirmed Edelman, who dealt with chronic knee issues throughout 2020. He played only six games last season and said the wheels “have fallen off” in his retirement announcement.
“My knee’s breaking down, I’m not going to sit here, you know, I got everything I wanted,” Edelman told Irvin. “I got three rings, played in a magical dynasty, with an unbelievable franchise coach, best quarterback of all time, like, yo, I’m not a greedy guy. I played to win, I played to compete, I don’t need anything else to prove. I’m good with what I did, I left it all out on the field.”
Edelman won three Super Bowls and a Super Bowl MVP with the Patriots. He caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in his career.
The Gig is Up for Brady, Gronkowski
His announcement puts the kibosh on Brady and Rob Gronkowski’s persistent joking about a reunion in Tampa. Edelman initiated the joking though with an April Fool’s tweet alluding to joining the Bucs.
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) April 1, 2021
The joking continued the moment the Patriots terminated Edelman’s contract due to a failed physical as a precursor to retirement.
Media personalities such as Yahoo Sports’ Charles Robinson joked about it. “Next Boston to Tampa flight leaves in like 26 minutes,” Robinson wrote.
Next Boston to Tampa flight leaves in like 26 minutes. https://t.co/91KeOY6GTU
— Charles Robinson (@CharlesRobinson) April 12, 2021
Gronkowski Said There Was a Chance
Gronkowski jumped on the Edelman-to-Tampa bandwagon by telling TMZ Sports that there’s “a 69% chance” of Edelman joining them. The Bucs tight end made sure to honor his former teammate, too, with a few unique adjectives.
“Furry. Cute. Elusive. Feisty. Congrats on retirement to the 3x champ squirrel,” Gronkowski wrote. “Honor playing with ya, whenever a big play was needed ya always came thru, my friend.”
Furry. Cute. Elusive. Feisty.
Congrats on retirement to the 3x champ squirrel. Honor playing with ya, whenever a big play was needed ya always came thru, my friend. @Edelman11 pic.twitter.com/JGYIVtaqYu
— Rob Gronkowski (@RobGronkowski) April 13, 2021
Gronkowski talked about Edelman during an appearance on Fox Sports for a Patriots game against the New York Giants in 2019. Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season before returning to the NFL via Tampa.
Because Gronkowski retired due to injuries and returned after a year away, he maintained his position that Edelman will unretire in a year. Gronkowski told that to ESPN’s Mike Greenberg in early May.
“And I believe if Julian truly heals up and whatever’s hurting on him and he fully heals and feels good, I think he’ll be back eventually in the future maybe a year or two away,” Gronkowski said on ESPN’s “Greeny”. “Let me tell you, he’s just a competitor, so I say if he heals up 100 percent (and) feels good, I think he’ll be back in the NFL, but I don’t know what team (and) I don’t know where.”
Brady Kept Pitching
Brady took a more direct route on joking with Edelman. In an Instagram exchange regarding Brady’s number rule change comments, Brady took the opportunity to rib Edelman about coming to Tampa.
Edelman wrote in the Instagram story, captured by CBS Sports Boston, that “12 is so 2001, (but) pi is eternal, just like you buddy.”
Brady replied on the story post, “now that you are free agent Julian Edelman, are you buttering me up?”
The quarterback took it further at the NFL-Draft-A-Thon, ribbing Edelman on live video.
“We know Julian didn’t retire,” Brady said, grinning. He’s just too scared to tell Bill (Belichick) he wants to come to Tampa. I’ve been there.”
From the NFL Draft-A-Thon 2021:@TomBrady: “We know Julian didn’t retire. He’s just too scared to tell Bill he wants to come to Tampa. I’ve been there.”
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) April 30, 2021
Edelman changed the subject.
“I see it’s Springtime for the Bradys because he has his little sailing strips on,” Edelman humorously replied in the video. “You know, enjoying that wonderful weather there in Florida.”
Edelman confirmed with Irvin on Thursday he won’t be enjoying Florida weather as a Bucs player.