FOXBORO -- If Julian Edelman plays through his recent extension with the Patriots, he will have been with the team for more than a decade. He said on Tuesday that one of the reasons he's been able to play as long as he has is because he's worked closely with Tom Brady's business partner and friend Alex Guerrero.
"I think it’s a huge part," Edelman said. "It’s a lifestyle on how to take care of your body, what you put in your body, flushing your body with his work. Before and after practice, keeping your muscles pliable, keeping them hydrated, those things. All it is is knowledge and the more knowledge you get through the years, the more powerful you can get . . . It’s definitely helped me a lot and I look forward to continue doing it."
Edelman -- who has played 65 of a possible 74 games since becoming a go-to option for the Patriots offense in 2013 -- signed a two-year extension that could keep him in New England through the 2019 season and pay him as much as $19.5 million. As part of the deal, he earned a $5 million signing bonus and his $2 million base salary for 2018 is fully guaranteed.
Edelman was drafted out of Kent State in the seventh round in 2009. A college-quarterback-turned-receiver, Edelman has told the story in the past that Bill Belichick admitted the Patriots weren't sure where to play him initially, but the coach thought he'd fit.
Belichick was asked before Tuesday's practice what his reaction would have been had someone told him back in 2009 that Edelman would have had the career he's ultimately had.
"Julian’s improved and done a lot of things that he never did in college, so that was not maybe something that he would have projected or anticipated," Belichick said. "But at the same time, he had enough qualities that we drafted him, and he showed that even as a rookie, I think, in terms of his production.
"Not taking anything away from Julian, but I would have been a lot more surprised at Steve Neal’s career than Edelman’s, let’s put it that way."
So Edelman wasn't a wrestler-who-didn't-play-college-football-turned-Super-Bowl-winning-guard, but he and Neal both fall into a class of long-shots who eventually earned their keep in New England. And Edelman's happy to continue to have a chance to do that for the next few years.
"I want to thank the Krafts, Mr. [Robert] Kraft, the Kraft family, Coach Belichick, the coaching staff for giving me another opportunity to stay here and play," Edelman said. "I love being a Patriot and we’ll leave it at that."