Julian Edelman has been one of the NFL’s good guys since he joined the New England Patriots in 2009.
That may sound like a stretch, considering Edelman once accepted a four-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs. But whether it is working with charities or inviting DeSean Jackson to a holocaust museum after Jackson made insensitive comments, it is clear Edelman has a big heart.
That made Edelman’s gift of Super Bowl tickets to a bullied high school football player in 2019 so heartwarming. This is the story of how a New England Patriots icon and a female quarterback built a friendship together.
Julian Edelman is a Patriots legend
A former standout quarterback at Kent State, Julian Edelman has instead made his living as an NFL wide receiver.
New England was right to invest a seventh-round pick on Edelman all the way back in 2009. Edelman caught 37 passes for 379 yards and a touchdown as a rookie, then took a back seat in the passing game until 2013, when he replaced Wes Welker in the starting lineup.
From 2013-19, Edelman turned 530 passes into 5,793 yards and 77 touchdowns in 83 games over six seasons; those numbers took a hit when Edelman missed the 2017 season with a torn ACL. Edelman also averaged 7.3 yards on 44 carries.
A dangerous kick returner with four career touchdowns, Edelman has been at his best in the postseason. Edelman has 118 career playoff catches for 1,442 yards and five touchdowns.
The veteran wideout won Super Bowl MVP honors in Super Bowl 53 when he caught 10 passes for 141 yards and had an 8-yard carry.
Edelman opened the 2020 season with 15 receptions and 259 yards in his first three games. He had a career-high 179 receiving yards in a Week 2 loss to the Seattle Seahawks.
Edelman has always been a high-character person
Any praise about Julian Edelman’s character requires the caveat and disclaimer that he served a four-game suspension in 2018 for using performance-enhancing drugs.
Edelman took full responsibility for the suspension and has had no issues with the NFL or the law since then.
Edelman has always been invested in charities and helping people. He donated $10,000 of his own money to Boston’s Boys & Girls Club in February 2019 and raised another $10,000 when he let Ellen DeGeneres shave his beard.
Julian Edelman befriended a bullied high school quarterback
Julian Edelman showed his strong human side in his relationship with Dejah Rondeau.
Rondeau, a young girl from Exeter, Mass., played quarterback on her youth football team. The idea of a girl playing quarterback, even in 2018, led to her being bullied.
Edelman surprised Rondeau, who wore No. 11 in honor of the Patriots receiver, with tickets to Super Bowl 53. Rondeau also got to play catch with Edelman in January 2019.
In an interview with seacostonline.com, Rondeau said she felt “super happy” not only to receive the tickets, but to have someone treat her — a female football player — with respect.
“I feel like I’m known and people (now) know what some people go through to get to where they want to go. When Julian pulled out the tickets, I didn’t know what to say. I never in a million years thought I would go to a Super Bowl.”
Edelman’s historic Super Bowl performance, which made him the first receiver since Santonio Holmes in 2009 to win Super Bowl MVP, must have made Rondeau even happier.