The New England Patriots played their final 10 games of 2020 without their No. 1 wide receiver. Is that a sign of things to come?
Veteran wideout Julian Edelman, who turns 35 in May, appeared in just six games this season and underwent minor knee surgery in October that ended his campaign. He has a potential opt-out in 2021 entering the final year of his two-year, $15.5 million contract extension and has 11 grueling NFL seasons under his belt.
That's the backdrop for the tweet Edelman posted Tuesday night.
Maybe Edelman was just in a nostalgic mood and felt like shouting out Patriots fans. Maybe he's excited about returning to New England for a 12th season.
But one could also detect a faint air of finality in Edelman's tweet, and "You’ve weighed on my and my family’s mind for a long time" sounds like a great way to begin a retirement speech.
The three-time Super Bowl champion sent a passionate message to fans on Instagram after the season ended that used similarly open-ended language. Edelman hasn't given any indication of retiring yet, but he also hasn't given any clear signs he's coming back.
The Patriots' season ended less than two weeks ago, so Edelman has plenty of time to ponder his future. But it's certainly no guarantee that No. 11 will be sprinting out of the Gillette Stadium tunnel next fall.