On the day after his 33rd birthday, a newly enriched Julian Edelman was doing what he loves best: practicing with his fellow New England Patriots.
“We got something done,” the veteran wide receiver said Thursday after the Patriots concluded an organized team activity on the practice field behind Gillette Stadium. “Business is business, and we’re done with that, and all I know is that we’re here and I’m going to be here for a few more years. I couldn’t be any more happy.”
The Patriots gave Edelman a three-year contract extension worth $21 million with an $8 million signing bonus and $12 million in guaranteed money. The new pact should allow Edelman, entering his 11th NFL season out of Kent State, the opportunity to conclude his career with the team that selected him in the seventh round of the 2009 draft. The Patriots converted him from college quarterback into one of the most effective slot receivers in the league.
“I was born here in my football career and I’m going to have a few more years here,” Edelman said. “I love being here. I don’t want to be anywhere else. I’m excited for this upcoming year, and I’m excited about this spring and to work on our fundamentals and mold our team and keep it going.”
Edelman enters 2019 with 499 career catches in the regular season for 5,390 yards and 30 touchdowns. Last season, despite serving a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances, he finished with 74 catches for 850 yards and six touchdowns. He capped a strong playoff run with a 10-catch, 141-yard performance in the Patriots’ 13-3 triumph over the Los Angeles Rams in the Super Bowl, earning the game’s MVP award.
“I’ve accomplished goals in the past, and when you do that, you set new goals,” he said. “I’ve been blessed and fortunate to attain and reach a lot of my dreams, but I still have a lot of other things that I want to go for. So I’ve got a big chip on my shoulder still, and I’m looking forward to coming out here and to contribute to this team, and working hard each day, helping younger guys and doing what I have to do to contribute.”
The Patriots went through the paces of the noncontact workout for about two hours Thursday, acclimating themselves to new teammates and new assistant coaches following an offseason of considerable turnover. Veteran special teams coach Joe Judge has also taken on the responsibility of coaching receivers this season.
“Yeah, we’ve had some coaching changes,” Edelman said. “But just like every other team, there’s always turnover. Coaching staff, players . that’s part of this business. Now we’re more focused on who we have here, and who’s here right now, and who’s going to help us.”
The Patriots generally take an all-business approach to their practices, but they still were able to show support for another Boston-based team beginning a championship quest. Edelman and several other Patriots wore caps or other attire emblazoned with the logo of the Boston Bruins, who will start their Stanley Cup Final series with the St. Louis Blues on Monday.
“It’s exciting, man,” Edelman said. “The city has just always got some crazy sports vibes going. Right now it’s the Bruins’ turn, and it’s exciting to see a young team, a new team, go out there with some of the older guys that have been around, and compete at the highest level. I’m excited for them and I’ll be at the games.”