Former Patriots WR Julian Edelman Says 3 Teams Have Contacted Him About NFL Return

Erin WalshDecember 18, 2022

England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) during an NFL football game between the Seattle Seahawks and New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020, in Seattle. (Photo by Tom Hauck/Getty Images)
Tom Hauck/Getty Images

Former New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman said during an appearance on 98.5 The Sports Hub in Boston that he has been approached by three teams about returning to the NFL this season, per Phil Perry of NBC Sports Boston.

"There's been some calls, and I've turned them down," Edelman said.

He added: "The situation would have to be in New England with a New England team that's a contender."

Edelman has been retired for nearly two years. He hung up the cleats after he failed his physical before the 2021 season and had his contract terminated by the Patriots.

The 36-year-old spent his entire 12-year career in New England, helping the Patriots win three Super Bowls—he also earned the Super Bowl LIII MVP award—alongside legendary quarterback Tom Brady.

Edelman caught 620 passes for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in 137 career games. In 19 playoff games, he caught 118 passes for 1,442 yards and five scores.

If the Patriots were one of the teams to contact Edelman about a potential NFL return, it's not necessarily surprising that he turned them down. Bill Belichick's squad enters Sunday's game against the Las Vegas Raiders third in the AFC East with a 7-6 record, though they do hold the seventh and final seed in the conference for the postseason.

Additionally, it's unclear how Edelman would perform after being away from the NFL for almost two years.

Of course, it's possible he could return and be a serviceable player for any franchise in need of some depth out wide.

For example, former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired after the 2018 season only to return in 2020 to play alongside Brady with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. In 28 games across the 2020 and 2021 season, he caught 100 passes for 1,425 yards and 13 touchdowns. He also caught 17 passes for 226 yards and three scores in six postseason games.

While Edelman doesn't plan on returning this season, it's hard to completely rule out his potential return to the NFL in 2023, especially considering teams are still interested in him.