Longtime Patriots WR, former Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman retires

Julian Edelman has retired.

The longtime New England Patriots receiver announced his decision on social media Monday.

"I've always said, I'm gonna go until the wheels come off," Edelman said in the video announcement recorded on the field at Gillette Stadium. "And, they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I'll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football.

"It was a hard decision, but the right decision for me and my family. I'm honored and so proud to be retiring a New England Patriot.

Edelman announced the decision shortly after news broke that the Patriots had terminated his contract, citing a failed physical. It turns out the transaction was simply a precursor to Edelman's retirement announcement.

Edelman's Patriots legacy

Edelman, 34, played his entire 11-season career with the Patriots, winning three Super Bowls. He was named Super Bowl LIII MVP after catching 10 passes for 141 yards in New England's 13-3 win over the Los Angeles Rams in 2019.

He tallied 620 catches for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns for his career while rushing for 413 yards and a touchdown. He receiving yardage total ranks fourth in Patriots history behind Stanley Morgan, Rob Gronkowski and Wes Welker. He was a favorite target of Tom Brady during a run with the Patriots that included five trips to the Super Bowl.

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 18: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots looks on after the game against the Denver Broncos  at Gillette Stadium on October 18, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
A lingering knee injury prompted Edelman to call it a career. (Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)

Knee injury hampered Edelman's final season in New England

Edelman was limited to six games last season after undergoing knee surgery to address a chronic ailment. He tallied 21 catches for 315 yards without a touchdown in the first season of the post-Brady era in New England.

News of his release prompted short-lived speculation that Edelman might seek to reunite with Brady in Tampa Bay. Obviously, that's not happening.

Edelman's retirement is the latest sign of the end of a two-decade run of dominance in New England that produced six Super Bowl championships.

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