When Julian Edelman retired out of the blue Monday, it was hard not to at least consider another “R” word in his future: return.
After all, we’ve seen this story before with tight end Rob Gronkowski, who hung them up after the 2018 season with the New England Patriots only to reunite with Tom Brady on the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2020 and win a Super Bowl title.
So, is Edelman really done with football… or can he be coaxed out of retirement like Brady did with Gronkowski?
It sounds like Gronk is holding out for the latter.
In an interview Monday night with TMZ Sports, the Bucs tight end gave Edelman a “69% chance” of unretiring to join the Bucs.
“Yeah, he’ll be back,” Gronk replied when asked if he thought Edelman has another year left in him. “He’ll be back.”
Is Gronkowski just trolling here? Considering the number he chose, it’s likely. Reports suggested Edelman’s injured knee is damaged to the point where he wouldn’t have lasted the entire 2021 season, and our Tom E. Curran reported Monday that there’s no more football in Edelman’s future.
But after Gronk’s about-face last spring, we’re wary of completely slamming the door on Edelman’s NFL career. So is Pro Football Talk’s Mike Florio, who made an interesting observation while pondering the thought of Edelman joining the Bucs late next season for their stretch run.
“As the NFL explained it earlier this morning via email, because Edelman has been cut by the Patriots, he won’t be subject to PED testing,” Florio wrote Tuesday. “Edelman, who was suspended four games in 2018 for PED use, could now — in theory — do whatever he has to do over the next several months without fear of PED testing, in an effort to get his knee right for one last ride in Tampa.
” … Is it likely to happen? Probably not. Is it a possibility that should be ignored? Definitely not.”
That’s all to say the chance of Edelman returning at age 35 on a bum knee is well under 69%. But it’s also not 0%.
That topic of discussion won’t come up until at least the fall, though, so for now, we can focus on celebrating Edelman’s incredible Patriots career.