Julian Edelman’s Broken Foot Puts a Damper on The Patriots’ Season

He'll be missed beyond the football field.

Julian Edelman so desperately wanted to succeed in the NFL, he once flew out to Los Angeles in the offseason just in case Tom Brady needed him. Five years later, the undersized seventh-round draft pick is now Brady’s favorite target, but his season is now in jeopardy because he twisted his foot the wrong way after catching a pass.

Edelman exited Sunday’s game late in the first quarter with a left foot injury after reeling in a 12-yard reception. ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports Edelman broke a bone in his foot and will undergo surgery Monday. Jeff Howe of the Herald says Edelman will be out “for a while.”

From the callous on-field perspective, all attention now turns to Danny Amendola, who was originally signed to be Wes Welker’s replacement three years ago. Amendola caught 10 passes for 79 yards Sunday, including seven receptions once Edelman headed to the locker room. The Patriots’ offense runs through the slot receiver and Amendola is the Next Man Up.

But the pain of Edelman’s injury goes beyond his impact on the football field. In a lot of respects, his rise to the top is exactly what makes sports great. Edelman was never a top prospect nor a top physical specimen. He’s achieved his success through hard work, and almost hard work alone.

Despite throwing for 29 touchdown passes and rushing for 13 more as a senior at Woodside High School in Woodside, California, not a single college program recruited Edelman. He was forced to play in the junior ranks for a year before transferring to Kent State, where he played quarterback for three seasons. Though Edelman broke the school’s single-season record for total offense in his senior year, he wasn’t invited to the NFL Combine. The Patriots selected him as a wide receiver with the 232nd pick in the 2009 draft.

For his first four seasons in Foxboro, Edelman was largely an afterthought. He only caught 69 passes from 2009-2012 and nearly signed with the New York Giants prior to the 2013 campaign. Since then, he’s recorded 258 receptions, which is third most in the NFL.

Edelman has blossomed into a superstar, from his hilarious starring roles in YouTube shorts such as Burgertyme to his show-stealing performance at the Patriots Super Bowl parade in February. Somehow, he’s been able to let his personality shine while playing under Bill Belichick. It’s just another example of how he’s defied the odds.

With Edelman out of action, the Patriots’ quest for an undefeated season becomes more challenging, but is far from derailed. The most challenging game remaining on their schedule is a bout in Denver against the Broncos in two weeks, though that contest doesn’t look as daunting as it once did. Peyton Manning threw four interceptions Sunday and is reportedly nursing a serious foot injury as well.

But even if the Patriots run the table, it won’t be as enjoyable without Edelman. He’s worked his entire life for this moment and now he’ll be robbed of it—not because of a vicious hit, but thanks to an injury as commonplace as a broken foot.

Professional football sure is cruel.