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April 13, 2021 12:28 pm
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Jewish Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman Announces Retirement: ‘It’s Been the Best 12 Years of My Life’

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Julian Edelman. Photo: Wikimedia Commons.

Longtime New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman announced his retirement from football in a video on Monday night.

Sitting on the field at Gillette Stadium, the three-time Super Bowl winner explained that he is retiring due to a knee injury he suffered last year. “Nothing in my career has ever come easy and no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy either,” the 34-year-old said about the announcement, while wearing a Star of David necklace.

“I’ve always said I’mma go until the wheels come off, and they’ve finally fallen off. It was a hard decision but the right decision for me and my family, and I’m honored and so proud to be retiring [as] a Patriot,” added Edelman, the NFL’s only Jewish athlete to be named Super Bowl’s Most Valuable Player. “It’s been the best 12 years of my life. It’s a hell of a run.”

The Patriots terminated his contract on Monday ahead of the announcement.

Edelman’s knee injury in 2020 sidelined him for 10 games last season and limited his abilities in multiple others.

A former college quarterback at Ohio’s Kent State University, he spent his entire 12-year NFL career with the New England Patriots. He ranks second in the team’s history in career receptions (620, following Wes Welker), fourth in receiving yards (6,822, trailing Stanley Morgan, Rob Gronkowski and Welker) and ninth in touchdown catches (36). He was the MVP of 2019’s Super Bowl LIII.

Patriots chairman and CEO Robert Kraft, who is also Jewish, said in a statement: “Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history … No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career.”

Edelman is outspoken about his support for Israel and the role Judaism plays in his life. He has traveled to Israel in the past and in 2018 wore customized cleats that honored the 11 people killed in the Pittsburgh synagogue massacre. In 2020, he talked about spending time during the NFL offseason studying for his bar mitzvah.

He also reached out to fellow NFL athlete Dean Jackson and NBA player Meyers Leonard to offer guidance about the Jewish culture and community after they faced backlash for making antisemitic comments.

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