Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman took a few minutes during his visit to NFL Network on Monday to discuss his beginning with the Patriots, Tom Brady‘s study habits, and the time he “Moss’d” someone.
Let’s talk about your start with the Patriots in 2009. You hit town as an accomplished college quarterback from Kent State. Next you’re an NFL rookie switching to slot receiver. What was that like for you?
JE: It was an emotional roller coaster for me. A couple of days you do something well, a couple of days you wouldn’t. The whole time trying to make the team, you just had to work your tail off and just kind of live around the coaches — in their back pockets — because whatever they say is going to help you.
Were there any players you latched onto out of the gate?
JE: It helped to have Wes Welker, Randy (Moss) when he was there. Tom Brady. These guys, they do it all the time, and the way they were in sync, you know, watching them run the plays, and how they were on such similar pages together — it’s helped a lot.
Was there an awe factor suddenly being in the same building with them?
JE: When I first got there. Obviously, you grow up saying, “Oh, I’m Randy Moss.” I was in eighth grade, playing on the playgrounds, saying, “Oh, I just Moss’d you!” Or watching Tom Brady win Super Bowls. It was a little awkward and, you know, cool and — starstruck at first. But you really don’t have time to think about that once you’re there because you’re just worried about doing your job. Especially your rookie year — you’re competing. It was tough.
You’re living in Southern California now, but you grew up in the Bay Area. North or South?
JE: I’m a NorCal kid.
Same with Brady. Did that bond you guys?
JE: I don’t know. I mean we do have a lot to talk about because we’re familiar with each other’s high schools growing up, so it’s kind of cool.
Hung out with Gisele at all?
JE: No, not really.
Everybody’s asking about the hair. Who got the idea to grow it out first, you or Brady?
JE: You know, I’m not sure. I just haven’t cut mine in … a long time.
You look like you could be a stand-in for Thor at this point in the game.
JE: I probably could.
Now, Jeff Saturday from the Colts. He spoke on NFL Network on Sunday night and he basically said, in talking about Peyton Manning: “Listen, nothing against Brady … but man, Peyton, he’s a different level.” What do you say about your quarterback?
JE: What do I say about my quarterback? You know, I’ve never played with Peyton. I don’t really know him. Now, I’ve seen him play and I have a lot of respect for him, but Tom Brady, he’s won three Super Bowls. You just have to look at his stat sheet. It explains itself. I don’t have to say anything else.
Can you identify something specific you’ve learned from Brady about preparing for an opponent?
JE: The thing you learn about with him — you literally prepare for everything. They’ll put out archives of when the head coach was an offensive coordinator somewhere five, 10 years ago and had a play where he influenced this or that — that one percentage that could happen. He prepares very hard.
You’re not the tallest guy. You’re not the biggest, but a sense one gets from watching you play — is intensity.
JE: I think that’s just the way I was brought up. I always felt like I had to prove someone wrong. I care about the game and how I do. If that’s how it’s portrayed on the field, that’s how it is.
The first time watching Bill Belichick break down film — what was that like?
JE: I might say it a lot, but you always have to be prepared for meetings because — it’s like higher education — there could be a pop quiz. He could ask you, “Who’s this guy? What’s he like? What’s their punter like?” They’ll single you out. They’ll single anyone out. You got to be on your toes. You got to take it serious — it’s your job. That’s the ultimate difference between that and how college was.
Has the lockout been tough for you?
JE: I mean, it hasn’t been tough. I’m still training every day. I still do all that stuff. But of course you’d like to be back with the organized team activities and minicamps and all that stuff. Seeing your coaches, you know, learning from them … they put so much time and effort in, it makes it so much easier for us to learn and it helps. Of course you miss it.
You’re here amid all this “NFL Top 100 Players” business. What is the the ceiling for Julian Edelman?
JE: I don’t really think about that right now. I’m just thinking about getting ready, staying prepared, keeping my mind in the game. Even though we’re locked out, just taking advantages of the opportunities I’ve been given.
— Marc Sessler
For more on what Edelman has been up to this offseason, visit his official Twitter page.