Julian Edelman, one of the great storytellers in the Patriots' locker room, was mostly humble and deferential in his post-game reflections after taking home Super Bowl MVP honors.
At the podium, asked if he'd thought of a celebratory drink yet, the wide receiver laughed, "I'll take a water, thanks", as a staffer handed him a bottle of Aquafina.
On the ESPN set with former teammate Randy Moss, asked by the recently-inducted Hall of Famer to take us through his journey from college quarterback to Super Bowl MVP, Edelman didn't miss the opportunity to tell a story in his best impression of Moss' unmistakably distinct West Virginia accent.
But it is often said that with injuries, the body recovers before the mind does -- and few would know better than him. Asked to reflect on his journey back from having his 2018 season wiped out before it even started, on the bench all season with an ACL tear suffered in the preseason, Edelman reiterated how grateful it is to be back in this shape.
"Injuries are psychologically so hard for an athlete, because you don’t get to do what you love to do," Edelman said at his post-game press conference. "And when your team's out there playing in the Super Bowl, and you don’t get to help or be of favor, it was definitely very tough. But I worked at it this year so we’re good."
And to that, quarterback Tom Brady couldn't be any happier for his favorite target, who became the first wide receiver in a decade to win Super Bowl MVP after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in the 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams. Edelman passed the immortal Michael Irvin in postseason receiving yards in these playoffs, and now only trails the equally immortal Jerry Rice in postseason yards and receptions.
Brady and Edelman shared a long embrace in the post-game pandemonium on the field. Asked about the conversation, Brady said, "I told him he played his best game all year. I’m so proud of him, what he’s accomplished coming back from his ACL [injury]. He just fought it out, grinned it out like everybody else."
And why, Tom, does Edelman rise to the occasions so well?
"He always does. He’s a fighter, man. He’s . . . I’m just so proud of him. He’s been an incredible player for this team, and the playoffs. He just cemented himself again in the history of the NFL for what his accomplishments are."
Edelman was equally deferential when asked about his relationship with Brady.
"He’s like a brother," Edelman said. "He’s helped me so much. He’s been a huge part mentally, just coaching me up and just through his actions and how he is as a football player, as a professional, as a father and as a family man. It's an honor to get to play with guy like that. He's got six Super Bowls now, so that’s pretty insane."
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