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February 4, 2019 4:37 pm

‘Gridiron Maccabee’ Julian Edelman Wins Super Bowl MVP Award

avatar by Algemeiner Staff and Agencies

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman celebrates with team owner Robert Kraft after winning Super Bowl LIII, Feb. 3, 2019. Photo: Reuters / Mike Segar.

Julian Edelman, an undersized wide receiver few thought would ever make a name for himself in NFL, won the Super Bowl MVP trophy on Sunday after his key plays helped lift the New England Patriots to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

In a game where both offenses struggled to find the end zone, Edelman made the most of his opportunities, catching 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 141 yards while rushing once for eight yards.

The speedy 32-year-old, nicknamed “The Squirrel,” was quarterback Tom Brady’s most reliable target on Sunday, providing an offensive spark every time it was needed en route to his third championship with the team.

Edelman is one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVPs in league history.

He was taken 232nd in the 2009 NFL draft after not even being invited to participate in league tryouts, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick managed to shape him into a key component of the team’s offensive attack.

Edelman said he was focused on getting the team back to the championship after a torn ACL forced him to miss all of last season and he had to watch the Patriots fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year’s Super Bowl.

“My head was down, just trying to go out and try to win ball games and help the team,” he said.

“Tough times don’t last, tough people do,” he said.

“I preach that and I guess you have to live to it.”

Edelman said the Patriots defense deserved just as much credit as he did for never allowing the Rams’ high-powered offense to get within 20 yards of the Patriots end zone on Sunday.

“The defense was unreal holding that offense to three points. It is pretty crazy,” he said.

“They should be the MVP — the whole defense.”

Edelman also praised Brady, who won his sixth championship at the team’s helm on Sunday.

“He is like a brother to me. He has helped me so much. He has been a huge part of mentally coaching me up just through his actions and how he is as a football player, as a professional, as a father and as a family man,” he said.

“It is an honor to get to play with a guy like that.”

Edelman — who has a Jewish father — has openly identified with Judaism in recent years.

During a 2014 game, he was spotted on the sidelines wearing an Israeli flag pin on his hat. In the summer of 2015, Edelman visited the Jewish state, and last fall, following the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre, he wore customized cleats honoring the victims.

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is also a member of the tribe, and a major donor to numerous Jewish and Israeli causes.

Israeli Ambassador to the US Ron Dermer tweeted on Sunday night, “Congratulations to @Patriots and the Jewish people’s Mega-mensch Robert Kraft for winning his 6th Super Bowl trophy and to Julian Edelman, a gridiron Maccabee, for winning the MVP trophy.”

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