Now that he’s officially retired from his 12-year career with the Patriots, former star wide receiver Julian Edelman can start opening up about his experience in New England.
During an appearance on Chris Long’s Green Light Podcast, Edelman reminisced with his former Pats teammate about the worst experience he ever had with notoriously-harsh head coach Bill Belichick.
The longtime slot receiver said it took place after his training-camp fight with cornerback Stephon Gilmore back in 2017. After the whistle had blown on a contested incompletion, Edelman and the incoming rookie duked it out — ripping off each others helmets before getting separated by teammates and coaches.
Belichick ripped into him at the team’s next film session.
“I got in a fight with Gilmore,” Edelman recounted, as transcribed by NESN. “(Belichick) puts it on, and he’ll just sit and rewind it like 45 times with silence — silence! And then when he stands up, there’s a guy that his job is to go run and turn the lights on. So it’s, like, majestically turning on.
“So he sits and rewinds it like 45 times, and then he stands up and he goes, ‘What the (expletive) are we doing? We can’t have this.’ He’s just going on and just wringing me like, ‘You know what, Edelman? You over here think you’re a tough guy.’ Just getting on me in front of the team. But I think low-key, he loved it.”
While this certainly wasn’t one of Edelman’s proudest moments with the team, he was overwhelmingly appreciated by the Patriots organization — including Belichick.
Following Edelman’s retirement back in April, the 21-year New England head coach gave a glowing review for one of his favorite WR targets.
“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career – wins, championships, production – Julian has it all,” Belichick said, per NBC Sports Boston. “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.”
While going “all out” may have been what got Edelman in trouble, it’s also what gained Belichick’s respect.