Julian Edelman Made You a Drink

The Patriots legend sips on Rare Lounge's JE 11 and discusses Taylor and Travis, Pop Warner memories, and holiday traditions.

Julian Edelman at Rare Lounge with bartender Ashley Marie Leca / Courtesy of Encore

“I love and miss Boston to death,” Julian Edelman says. The Super Bowl LIII MVP is sitting at the Encore Boston Harbor in Everett, reflecting on the city that loves him back. After 12 seasons with the New England Patriots, the former wide receiver is now a Fox NFL Kickoff analyst whose family and TV gig have him based in Los Angeles. But Edelman travels to Boston often and still has his Back Bay condo. He’s also an Encore regular—and WynnBET even sponsors his podcast, Games with Names. Fittingly, the Pats legend and fan favorite is lending his cachet to a new drink on the menus at the casino-resort’s Rare Steakhouse and adjacent Lounge: The JE11 is a warming sipper for a self-declared “tequila guy,” made with barrel-aged Casamigos Anejo, Amaro Montenegro, and orange bitters. 

Ahead of the Seattle Seahawks and Philadelphia Eagles game on Monday night—which had no confirmed Swelce sightings, unlike during Sunday’s “flexed” Pats versus Chiefs game—we caught up with Edelman as he sipped his namesake drink. 

What do you miss most about living here full-time?

It’s so clean and quaint. I live in L.A., K? L.A. is a dump. Look, there are great things about L.A., but you feel like you’re part of the neighborhood in Boston. The streets are clean. When I came here for the first time, I was a California kid. The architectural structures, the cobblestone streets felt like you were in a different country. There’s a great youthful energy because of all the colleges. It’s just a great place to live. When I come here, I feel like I’m coming home. It’s honestly nuts. I go back to L.A. and I’m like, ‘This ain’t it.’ 

We love to hear that about ourselves, so thank you. I wanted to get your take on Taylor Swift’s omnipresence in the NFL season.

To see how Travis [Kelce] has compartmentalized the whole situation and still been able to perform is impressive. Yeah, he went to Argentina on a bye week and they lost after, but. September through February is straight football. You really have to be with someone that understands that. So it’s been cool to see Travis handle it pretty well. And this is great for the league. You’re getting a lot of people that don’t usually watch our game. 

I was curious if you saw the news that a Dorchester Pop Warner team just won the national championship. It was the first time a Boston team had ever won.

Did they win Pop Warner? You know, you’re talking to a 1998 Super Bowl champion of Pop Warner. Redwood City 49ers, 1998—we went to Florida. We were undefeated and only got scored on once. That’s cool for Boston. And I first-hand know how it feels: As a kid, you get to skip a week of school and go to Disney World, and you get to go compete with your best friends. Like, it’s the funnest time of their little lives up to this point. That’s so cool. And to the Dorchester team? Dirty Dot, let’s go!

Courtesy of Encore

I would totally listen to that episode of your podcast.

I’m gonna have to get them on! On Games with Names, we talk about these historic games as fans, with people that were in the game or celebrities that are super fanatics. The people that come in give us an excuse to talk not just about sport[s]: We have a segment where we go back in time to when the game took place and we go over pop culture. It’s been really cool to be able to talk to a bunch of cool people. We just did Gronk’s first episode, he’s one of the boys. I hope the fans like it, but it’s just people talking and having fun.

Happy Hanukkah, by the way. I remember when you were a player, talking about reconnecting with your Jewish roots. Is it important for you to be a Jewish public figure, and how do you approach representing that side of yourself?

Happy Hanukkah! Yeah, it is very important. It’s part of my heritage, it’s part of who I am. I definitely let people know what I support through what I do and how I talk. If you know me, I support the causes of the Jewish people. Right now, it’s a sensitive time, a very tough situation and a sad moment—not just for the Jewish people, but for the Palestinian people as well. And to be a Jew right now, it’s kind of scary. I’m not gonna lie: There is some real 1930s shit going on with antisemitism and how people are talking. I don’t like to get into it too much.

The JE11 at Rare Steakhouse and Lounge. / Courtesy of Encore

Does your family have any holiday traditions?

Now we’re starting to develop our traditions, because I’m with my daughter a lot more in L.A. When you’re a professional athlete, the sacrifices are put on your family, your friends. I didn’t have holidays—like, I had games. Everything in your mindset is literally about what you’re trying to do on the field. All we have on this earth is time. For a long part of my life, I put my time into sport. It’s been cool to be able to give it back to my family. I’m going to cry, Jesus.

Now you’re on TV, which is a different schedule. Would you ever consider getting back in the game? Because I know a team that could use an offensive coordinator. 

Coaching? Absolutely not. I want to have a life. I just told you, I’m getting out of the mindset! I have so much respect for coaches. To put it in perspective, [as a player] I would put in a 12, 13-hour day. When I’d be leaving work, you would see coaches seeing their family in the parking lot while they had a break before going back to work. TV is the perfect fit for me right now because it gives me my football fix. I get to sit in a green room and have that camaraderie with fellas for one day a week. It’s a good balance. There’s a lot of work that goes into it. I’ve never watched so much goddamn football in my life. Usually you just watch an opponent and you don’t need to know names, you just need to know numbers. Now I got to know names, I got to pronounce names, I got to watch every team. Sorry, I’m burping.

For sure. It’s the tequila. 

[Laughs] It is!