Julian Edelman isn't unretiring, but if he does he wouldn't automatically team up with Tom Brady

Julian Edelman isn’t planning on a return to the NFL after retiring in 2021. If he did, however, it wouldn’t necessarily be to team up with Tom Brady.

The 36-year-old wideout and former Super Bowl MVP sat out last fall after an injury-marred end to a 12-season run with the New England Patriots. He told former NFL Pro Bowlers Brandon Marshall and Adam “Pacman” Jones that his knee has healed up in an interview for the I AM ATHLETE podcast. Even so, he isn’t planning on following Rob Gronkowski’s footsteps to unretire and meet up with former quarterback Tom Brady in Tampa.

“If I were to ever come back,” Edelman told I AM ATHLETE, “I would wanna come back as a Pat[riot], probably.”

Edelman conceded earlier in the interview that a comeback remained unlikely, even if he wasn’t ruling it out entirely.

“I’ve gone and dabbled out. I’ve run routes,” he explained. “You see, when you run routes [after retiring], you say ‘I’m not too bad,’ but I’m already about 10,000 reps behind in my mind.”

The former Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion also shed some light on the locker room machinations that led to Jimmy Garoppolo’s trade out of New England. Marshall asked Edelman to read a quote from former teammate Martellus Bennett from the former tight end’s appearance on the McCourty twins’ Double Coverage podcast.

Bennett hadn’t held back on Brady’s former understudy, blaming a 2016 loss to the Buffalo Bills on Garoppolo’s gameday decision not to play due to injury and calling the current 49ers signal caller an “[expletive].” He also went on to say “you can’t win with a [expletive] for a quarterback.”

After reading the full quote out loud, Edelman admitted Bennett had a point, even if he wasn’t willing to go as far in his criticism of Garoppolo.

“We go into Week 4, I guess Jimmy was practicing and decided not to play. Jacoby [Brissett, New England’s third-string quarterback at the time] played with no ligaments in his thumb which, you can’t do that if you’re a quarterback.

“A lot of guys got mad about it. I got mad about it … I can understand why Marty thinks like that.”

Edelman retired last spring after 620 regular season receptions — 52 shy of the team’s all-time record held by Wes Welker. It’s unlikely he’d come back in 2022. If he did, however, it sounds like his first choice would be Foxborough for another shot at Welker’s franchise crown.

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