FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – Had things broken differently at the end of the 2009 NFL draft, Julian Edelman would have been a Green Bay Packer instead of a New England Patriot.
That was part of a story Edelman told Tuesday night during an appearance on NFL Network's "Total Access" program, as he reflected on not being invited to the NFL combine and then getting to the later stages of the seventh round and not having his name called.
Edelman had worked out twice for the Patriots, first with running backs coach Ivan Fears and then with special teams coach Scott O'Brien, but didn't take a pre-draft visit with them.
"The whole time on draft day, I'm like 'Well, they didn't like me, I guess, because they didn't bring me in for a visit.' I didn't know how it went," Edelman said on NFL Network. "We had like 10 teams call for me to be a priority free agent and so we were thinking of signing with Green Bay if that happened. So I was going to sign with Green Bay. We thought it would be the best [opportunity] for me to make the team."
That's when Edelman's agent, Don Yee, told him that the Patriots could still take him late in the seventh round after acquiring a draft pick in a trade.
"He's like this zen master," Edelman joked on the program.
That's the way it unfolded, with the Patriots selecting Edelman 232nd.
Edelman remembers hearing Bill Belichick's voice on the phone that day, and relayed what he remembers hearing from him: "We don’t know what you’re going to play, but you can play football. So see you in camp.”
In addition to Edelman reflecting on nearly being a Packer, he compared the approach of backup quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo to Packers greats Brett Favre and Aaron Rodgers. He also took part in numerous segments on the program – some humorous (his “bromance” with Tom Brady and a name-that-beard game) and others more X’s and O’s based (reviewing his diving fourth-quarter catch in Super Bowl LI). That catch was one he estimates that he would make three out of every 100 times.
Edelman discussed the importance of team chemistry, relaying a story from his 2009 rookie season on how the Patriots didn’t necessarily have it, which led to him considering whether he wanted to walk to certain parts of the locker room.