Was Tom Brady really joking with Julian Edelman-to-Bucs comment?

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Darren Hartwell
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Was Brady really joking with this Edelman-to-Bucs comment? originally appeared on NBC Sports Boston

If you're a New England Patriots fan seeking a nervous laugh, you've come to the right place.

Fresh off his NFL retirement, former Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman hopped on the NFL Network's "Draft-A-Thon" coverage Thursday night to join a star-studded group that included his ex-teammate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady.

It wasn't long before Deion Sanders brought up the elephant in the room: How did Brady let Edelman retire without trying to lure him to Tampa Bay?

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Brady's response was eye-opening -- and included a mention of his former boss, Bill Belichick.

"We know Julian didn’t retire. Let’s be honest," Brady said. "He’s just too scared to tell Bill he wants to come to Tampa. I’ve been there."

Good one, Tom. You're totally joking ... right?

Edelman did insist recently that he's not healthy enough to return for a 13th NFL season, and he'll turn 35 in May. But Rob Gronkowski also cited health concerns when he "retired" in 2018 only to team up with Brady in Tampa Bay in 2020 and go on to win a Super Bowl.

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For what it's worth, Gronk gave Edelman a "69% chance" of unretiring to join the Bucs. So, even if Edelman is convinced he's done playing, his former teammates don't seem to believe him.

Edelman also didn't exactly douse the comeback rumors. When Kevin Hart asked Edelman on the telethon if this was all a big marketing scheme so he could unretire via a sponsored ad, the former wideout shot back with a joke Hart has heard many times before.

"It's always great to have someone who's shorter than you (on the call)," Edelman said.

So, yeah. Don't be surprised if Brady calls his fellow Bay Area native a few times this summer to tell him about how lovely Tampa is in the fall.