We've spent a good portion of the week gushing over the many attributes that made Julian Edelman an excellent football player and the ideal New England Patriot.
After making a strong statement of appreciation for Edelman earlier in the week, Bill Belichick followed suit with candid remarks Thursday.
"Julian's been one of the players that's probably come further than most every other player that I've coached and his development from a quarterback in college to a receiver, a punt returner and even a defensive player, all positions that he never played, I'd certainly take sail as a punt returner as a receiver, for a number of years at those very difficult positions as quite an accomplishment, especially considering he wasn't trained to do those things in college," Belichick said. "His toughness, his competitiveness, his play-making ability certainly is a big, big part of the backbone of our team. I have a ton of respect for Julian and what he accomplished in his career, how hard he worked to accomplish it and a great appreciation for all he's done for me personally and our organization."
Edelman laid his physical well-being on the line for Belichick's Patriots time and time again, and a knee injury suffered in 2020 proved to be his final blow.
Before he arrived at his decision, Edelman did more than enough to earn the respect of Belichick and Patriots fans everywhere.
Look no further than the sheer length of the above response from Belichick, a coach who typically gives short, uninspiring answers as often as he can, for justification of what Edelman meant to the Patriots and the second half of their two-decade dynasty.
That alone speaks volumes, and underscores the impact the former Kent State quarterback-turned-slot receiver had on one of the NFL's model franchises.