Julian Edelman is apologetic but vague. He teeters toward an admission of … something … then clams up. He is somehow both sorry and defensive.
The Super Bowl LIII MVP will be quick to answer questions about the latest biggest game of his life, this one including 10 catches for 141 yards in the Patriots’ 13-3 win over the Rams. He is more hesitant to speak about this season’s first four games, in which he did not play because of a PED suspension that he will not (and not cannot) explain.
“People don’t know what happened,” the star wideout, who was coming off an ACL tear, told Peter King’s “Football Morning in America.” “I can’t sit here and [due to] the league rules say what happened.”
The 5-foot-10 32-year-old hides himself quite well behind the shield, yet he is perfectly free to waive his confidentiality rights and talk about what happened. Though if he claims something that the league disputes, he would open himself up to an NFL challenge.
Asked if he felt the suspension was unjust, Edelman was careful to accept blame without detailing what blame he was accepting.
“I’m not going down that road,” he said. “I served what I had to serve and I accept that. I know a lot of people were disappointed in me for it. I apologize. It’ll never happen again.”
It’s a curious pledge — “It’ll never happen again” — in a situation in which Edelman also said he “really [doesn’t] know what happened.” The playoff hero volleyed from playing the victim to accepting the reality of a drug ban that will taint his performance.
“After going through this whole year,” he said, “these last 24 months of my life have been a roller coaster. You go out and you tear an ACL. Then all of a sudden you have a suspension that you’re facing. A lot of things go down and then you end up … a huge low of your life. Because football is life. That’s what people don’t understand with me. This is what I am. This is what I was put here to do. This is what I sacrificed all my time for — my friends, my family, everything like that … And then when you’re told you can’t play football for four weeks because of something that happened that you really can’t get into because you really don’t know what happened, it’s tough. You learn a lot from that.
“When that happened, I had a strong corner behind me. My father and I kind of just sat back and said, All right, we have a problem here. What’s this problem? Let’s make sure this never happens again. Let’s own up to it. Let’s take your penalty like a man, regardless of the circumstances.’ … From this whole thing, I’ve learned that you’ve just got to stay in your routine, and you’ve just got to work your way out of it.”