Julian Edelman made a surprising move on Monday when he announced his retirement from the NFL. The announcement was made shortly after the New England Patriots terminated his contract due to a failed physical, but the 34-year-old wide receiver put together a very strong career. However, is it strong enough to get him into the Pro Football Hall of Fame?
When looking at Edelman's career numbers, it doesn't scream bound for Canton, Ohio. In 12 seasons with the Patriots, Edelman caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns. He had over 1,000 yards receiving three times and caught at last 90 passes four times. Edelman ranks fourth all-time in team receiving yards and second in receptions behind Wes Welker, who has 672. He also ranks ninth in receiving yards.
Those numbers will get Edelman into the Patriots Hall of Fame, but the Pro Football Hall of Fame will likely be a little more challenging, currently, Edleman ranks 156th in all-time receiving yards and 75th in all-time receptions. If Edelman had another 6,000 receiving yards and 200 more receptions, a stronger argument could be made for him to be enshrined among the greats.
But here's why an argument can be made. Edelman was a solid wide receiver during the regular season, but he was on another level in the playoffs. In 19 playoff games, Edelman posted 118 receptions, which is the second-most in NFL history. He also posted 1,442 receiving yards which also ranks second behind Jerry Rice.
"I definitely think he has a great possibility to be a Hall of Famer," former teammate Rob Gronkowski said to TMZ this week. "He's a beast. And the numbers just don't show everything that he brings to the table. The attitude, the competitiveness that he has." Edelman is a big reason the Patriots won three Super Bowls during his time with the team. In fact, the Kent State alum was named MVP of Super Bowl LIII after catching 10 passes for 141 yards.
It will be interesting to see how it plays out. Playing with Tom Brady helped Edelman have success, but he was the one who stood out among a number of receivers during his time in New England. Edelman may not get in right away, but his play in multiple Super Bowls could keep the conversation going for many years.