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Bill Belichick: It was a privilege to coach “ultimate competitor” Julian Edelman

Mike Florio and Chris Simms draft their favorite throwback helmets that they wish would return, led by designs with Bucco Bruce, the old Giants helmets with text instead of the logo, Pat Patriot and more.

Julian Edelman officially announced he’s retiring as a Patriot, and shortly after head coach Bill Belichick and team owner Robert Kraft issued statements praising the wide receiver’s accomplishments.

“By any measure of what constitutes an elite NFL career — wins, championships, production — Julian has it all,” Belichick said. “Few players can match Julian’s achievements, period, but considering his professional trajectory and longevity, the group is even more select. It is historic. This is a tribute to his legendary competitiveness, mental and physical toughness and will to excel. Day in and day out, Julian was always the same: all out. Then, in the biggest games and moments, with championships at stake, he reached even greater heights and delivered some of his best, most thrilling performances.

“For all Julian did for our team, what I may appreciate the most is he was the quintessential throwback player. He could, and did, do everything – catch, run, throw, block, return, cover and tackle – all with an edge and attitude that would not allow him to fail under any circumstance. Julian Edelman is the ultimate competitor and it was a privilege to coach him.”

Edelman retires as a three-time Super Bowl champion and the MVP of Super Bowl LIII. He also made a game-saving, diving catch in the Patriots’ comeback victory over the Falcons in Super Bowl LI, and caught the game-winning touchdown when New England defeated Seattle in Super Bowl XLIX.

“Julian Edelman is one of the great success stories in our franchise’s history,” Kraft said. “There aren’t many players who earn an NFL roster spot at a position they have never played before. Julian not only did that as a seventh-round draft selection, but he is retiring with the second-most career receptions in franchise history and as a three-time Super Bowl Champion, including his last as Super Bowl MVP. No one was more committed to his craft and honing his skills than Jules. His explosiveness off the line, quickness in his cuts and elusiveness after the catch made him one of the hardest players to defend throughout his career. His clutch catches in our biggest games and overall toughness made him a fan favorite. Over the past 12 years, I have enjoyed watching him grow as a player, as a person and as a father. In 2019, I had the privilege of traveling to Israel with Julian, which might be the only place where he is more popular than here in New England.”