The Buccaneers have become a hotbed for former Patriots offensive players. After they signed Tom Brady to a contract during the 2020 offseason, another future Hall of Fame Patriot joined him when Rob Gronkowski came out of retirement to compete for a Super Bowl title. Antonio Brown, who had a short-lived two-week stint with the Patriots in ’19, signed midway through the ’20 season at Brady’s behest and became a key contributor for the team’s title run.
Because of these connections and the Buccaneers’ reported interest in running back James White during the ’21 offseason, there has been some speculation that the Bucs could target the recently retired Julian Edelman this offseason. Edelman, 34, called it quits after 11 years that all came with the Patriots, but some wondered whether Edelman would be willing to fight for one more title as a member of the Bucs. After all, Gronk did it, so why not Edelman?
Brady recently helped to fuel that fire when he cracked a joke about Edelman coming to the Buccaneers as part of the NFL’s 2021 Draft-A-Thon.
“We know Julian didn’t retire. Let’s be honest,” Brady said. “He’s just too scared to tell [Patriots head coach] Bill [Belichick] he wants to come to Tampa. I’ve been there.”
As juicy as that storyline may be — another Patriots legend leaving the team for one last go with a couple of old pals — it isn’t going to happen. Edelman himself confirmed as much in a tweet to Pat McAfee.
Edelman has continuously used the “Foxboro Forever” hashtag, so this is far from a surprise. Besides, one of the top reasons that he decided to retire is that he has dealt with chronic knee pain and reportedly wasn’t going to be able to play a full season.
Maybe Edelman could return if the condition of his knee improves, but he’s 34 so it’s hard to imagine. Even if he did play again, it may not necessarily be with the Bucs. He could give it one more go with the Patriots in hopes of bringing one more Super Bowl to Foxboro.
But the safe bet here is that Edelman’s career is over, and what an accomplished one it was for the former Kent State quarterback.