Julian Edelman called it a career on Monday, announcing his retirement from the NFL after spending 12 years in the league and with the New England Patriots. The three-time Super Bowl champion receiver noted that the wheels effectively fell off, citing a knee injury he suffered in 2020 as the key catalyst for this decision. Despite the emotional goodbye video and rather definitive nature of Edelman's departure, there's a certain sector of the internet that seemingly doesn't believe him. Those folks appear to be of the mind that Edelman is simply taking some time to rest before electing to come back into the league and sign somewhere other than the Patriots, with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers being the leading contender given his relationship with Tom Brady.
That internet skepticism has since bled into actual NFL circles with Edelman's former teammate in Rob Gronkowski -- who knows a thing or two about retiring and unretiring -- telling TMZ Sports that there's a "69% chance" that Edelman will eventually come out of retirement to join him and Brady in Tampa. While Gronkowski may have been joking with those percentages, the tight end did add later on in the exchange that, "he'll be back," which only creates more speculation of Edelman's next move.
However, while some may be holding out hope, Edelman isn't The Terminator saying "I'll be back." In all likelihood, we've seen the last of No. 11 on the football field and there's evidence that points to this being the case.
The biggest is the knee. An injury of this severity doesn't exactly heal with time. As Karen Guregian of the Boston Herald reported last week, Edelman's knee injury was going to make it doubtful for him to play an entire season and surgery wouldn't even solve the underlying -- and likely chronic -- problem. As Edelman himself noted in his farewell address, "I've always said, 'I'll go until the wheels come off,' and they finally have fallen off."
That prognosis from Edelman likely doesn't get Bruce Arians or any other NFL decision-maker foaming at the mouth to try and woo him out of retirement. If they were getting a version of Julian Edelman that is 100%, that's a different story. However, that version of the Super Bowl LIII MVP likely doesn't exist anymore.
There's also the Patriots' position in all of this. The club -- which terminated his contract following a failed physical -- is savvy enough to hang onto the receiver's rights if there was any thought that he could find his way back into the league at some point down the line, similar to what they did with Gronkowski. With Edelman also noting how honored he is to retire as a Patriot and hammered home the "Foxboro Forever" mantra, that'd be a little tough to walk back at any point.
Of course, any player can have a change of heart and feel the desire to return to the field so nothing is set in stone. With that said, in the case of Edelman, it seems unlikely his body would even allow him the opportunity to attempt a comeback, deeming speculation of such an endeavor as moot.