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Should Bay native Edelman really be Hall of Fame candidate?

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Julian Edelman, Tom Brady

Julian Edelman and Tom Brady were separated by nearly a decade and 12 miles on the west side of Highway 101 on the peninsula.

Brady, a native of San Mateo, has been at the controls for a record seven Super Bowl victories.

Edelman, who attended Woodside High, ranks behind only Jerry Rice with 118 postseason receptions for 1,442 yards.

Edelman on Monday announced his retirement after 11 NFL seasons.

And with the conclusion of Edelman’s career, the countdown has started on the mandatory five-year waiting period before he is eligible for consideration into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Edelman overcame a lot to get to this point. He did not receive any scholarship offers out of high school, so he went to College of San Mateo. After one season at the community college, he moved on to Kent State.

He was not invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, but the Patriots still selected him in the seventh round of the draft.

Brady, of course, will be a rubber stamp inductee into the Hall of Fame at some point next century after he retires.

The man who caught more passes from Brady than any other player is likely to be a polarizing candidate. But to even be discussed in those terms is nothing short of amazing.

On the surface, Edelman is a stretch to be considered among the all-time greats.

After all, he appeared in all 16 regular-seasons just three times in a career. He was the Patriots’ primary slot receiver for just six seasons.

 

He never made a Pro Bowl. He was never voted as an All-Pro choice.

Edelman concludes his career with 620 regular-season receptions, placing him 15th among active players at the end of last season and 75th all-time. His 6,822 receiving yards currently place him 156th all-time. The question is how much weight will be placed on his extraordinary postseason production, which includes an MVP honor for his 10-catch, 141-yard game in Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams.

His postseason production cannot go unnoticed, for sure.

But it also is important to remember that a maximum of only five modern-era players annually can be elected annually into the Hall of Fame.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Hines Ward has been a semifinalist for five consecutive years without making the cut to the final 15.

Ward was a member of two Super Bowl-winning teams and was the MVP of Super Bowl XL against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ward was known as a tremendous blocker. Also, in the regular season, he racked up 380 more catches, more than 5,000 receptions and 49 more touchdowns than Edelman. Ward was a three-time All-Pro and a four-time Pro Bowl player.

Receivers Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne were finalists this year but were not elected. Steve Smith, Andre Johnson and Anquan Boldin will be eligible for the Hall of Fame for the first time in 2022.

In receiving yards, Smith (eighth), Johnson (11th) and Boldin (14th) rank among the NFL’s all-time leaders.

Edelman's postseason production cannot be denied. But Jim Plunkett was a two-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback, including Super Bowl MVP, with the Raiders and has never been a Hall of Fame finalist.

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The story of the NFL cannot be told without citing the accomplishments of Brady and Edelman.

Edelman certain did a lot for Brady. Obviously, Brady did even more for Edelman.

That is not meant to diminish Edelman’s achievements in any way.

Edelman had a heck of a career.

But with a logjam forming in Canton at the receiver position, Edelman likely faces another uphill climb.

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