Lots of kids dream of becoming professional athletes; for some, it’s evident early that is a realistic goal, while others are late bloomers or have to scrape and fight to even get that chance.
The latter situation was the case for New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman. A seventh-round pick out of Kent State in 2009, Edelman was a college quarterback but the Patriots saw him as a utility player. At his first mini-camp, he was asked to field punts, and quickly muffed two of them; as he fought for playing time on offense, he was asked to play some defensive back.
Now headed into his ninth season, Edelman is third on the Patriots’ all-time list for punt return yards, and top-10 in both receiving yards and receptions, one of Tom Brady’s most trusted options on two Super Bowl winning teams.
But a decade or so ago, no one outside of Edelman himself could have predicted such success.
On Tuesday, Edelman posted a photo of a letter he received from one of his junior college instructors; he cut off the name, so we don’t know if it’s a man or woman, but either way, they apologized to Edelman for a “flippant” remark they made to him years ago:
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) July 18, 2017
The letter begins, “Dear Jules.”
“I’m not sure you’ll remember me; I was your teacher for your English 100 class at CSM [the College of San Mateo, where Edelman played before transferring to Kent State] in the spring of 2006. I’ve been wanting to write to you for, oh, what seems like a thousand years, to apologize to you for a flippant comment I made to you that semester. You may not even remember it, but I’ve felt bad about it for years.
“You had made some comment about ‘going to the league,’ and I said something about setting realistic goals, about how few people successfully enter the ranks of the professional athlete, blah, blah, blah. I don’t think it fazed you, frankly, but whenever I think back on it, I feel terrible, not because you proved me wrong, but because I stupidly voiced an uneducated opinion that implied I had distain for your passion for the game.
“I think it was early in the semester, before I knew you, but how could I ever have doubted your tenacity and grit is beyond me! Again, I doubt you’ve even thought about it twice, but even so, I am sorry for wedging my foot so firmly in my mouth that day.”
Lesson learned, teachers: there’s a fine line between encouraging dreams and possibly dashing them.
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