Julian Edelman called it quits Monday, announcing his retirement after an 11-year NFL career, all of it spent with the Patriots.
Edelman’s final stat line: 620 receptions for 6,866 receiving yards (11 yards per reception) and 36 receiving touchdowns; 58 rushes for 413 yards (7.1 yards per carry); 177 punt returns for 1,986 yards and four touchdowns. His yardage ranks 156h in NFL history, and his receiving touchdowns are tied for 261st.
Zero Pro Bowl selections. Three Super Bowl rings. One Super Bowl MVP. And a member of the Patriots’ 2010 All-Decade team.
Now, the ensuing debate: Are those numbers good enough to be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame (which Edelman won’t be eligible for until 2026)? The pure numbers say no, but that didn’t stop Twitter users from making “HOFer” and “Edelman” trend Monday evening as they discussed Edelman’s Hall of Fame credentials.
Sporting News’ Vinnie Iyer in May 2019 made a compelling argument that Edelman’s Hall of Fame case isn’t so cut and dry. Working in Edelman’s favor is the fact that only Jerry Rice ranks ahead of Edelman in postseason receptions (151 to Edelman’s 118) and receiving yards (2,245 to Edelman’s 1,442). He was also one of the favorite targets of Tom Brady — himself a first-ballot Hall of Famer — as the two won three Super Bowls together.
But Edelman only led the Patriots three times in receiving yards, and never put together more than 1,117 yards in a season (in 2019, his last fully healthy season). He had three 1,000-yard receiving seasons and never scored more than seven receiving touchdowns a year. People were also quick to point out his stats pale in comparison to other non-Hall of Famers with considerably better stats, including Hines Ward, who in 2021 failed to make it into Canton for the fifth consecutive year.
Regardless of whether Edelman makes it into the Hall of Fame, the fact that his candidacy is so hotly debated — not even 24 hours removed from announcing his retirement — is a testament to his impact on the game.
Edelman is, to me, a Hall of Famer.
His impact in the playoffs was undeniable plus he had 11 years of basically being Brady’s go-to wide receiver.
— Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) April 12, 2021
All that these bozos explaining what a non HoFer Edelman is are doing is proving to the world that Tom Brady won 3 Super Bowls, 2 Super Bowl MVPs & was a 5x Pro Bowler with that man as his best receiver
— KP (@KapeTalk) April 12, 2021
Patriot fans are trying to sell Edelman as a HOFer. In an era with much less throwing, Washington’s Gary Clark-699 catches for 10,856 yards and 65 TD’s, plus two Super Bowl titles. (And Torry is getting in). With all due respect, Edelman isn’t a HOFer. Pats HOF yes, Canton? No. https://t.co/WbdeZ3qW4K
— Randy Karraker (@RandyKarraker) April 12, 2021
Here’s why I hate immediate HOF talk: Edelman should be celebrated after an incredible 12-year career that the overwhelming majority of athletes would trade for. He’s not a HOFer, and I dislike that we have to say what he’s not on a day where we should celebrate what he is.
— Jonathan Jones (@jjones9) April 12, 2021
Torry Holt and Reggie Wayne are not in the Hall of Fame. Stop with any Julian Edelman to Canton talk until they are.
— Will Brinson (@WillBrinson) April 12, 2021
So this question’s going to sound disingenuous but I promise it’s not (bc I don’t know that I’d vote for either guy)—if you’re for Eli Manning getting into the HOF, shouldn’t you be for Julian Edelman getting in?
To me, their cases are basically the Lynn Swann case.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) April 12, 2021
For all my colleagues: Do not ask me if Julien Edelman is a Hall Of Famer when I work on Wednesday. Ask me if he’s a great story, has he come up clutch in some big playoff moments, hell even if he had a great career. Don’t start the HOF talk though. Let me say nice things.
— Ryan Clark (@Realrclark25) April 12, 2021
The backlog of WRs you’d have to clear before Edelman even got within a zipcode of the HoF is insane.
— Sam Monson (@PFF_Sam) April 12, 2021
Much more value in discussing/learning about why Edelman got everything out of his talents and career than debating if he is HOF worthy. Much, much more. If you care about that kind of thing.
— Louis Riddick (@LRiddickESPN) April 13, 2021
Julian Edelman’s postseason stats:
19 games, 118 catches, 1,422 yards, 7 TDs.
Won three Super Bowls and earned a Super Bowl MVP.
I don’t have a strong stance on the Edelman HOF debate. I see both sides, but I don’t think postseason contributions are weighed heavily enough.
— Doug Kyed (@DougKyed) April 12, 2021
Eli Manning and Julian Edelman have similar HOF resumes: they aren’t HOF worthy.
— Andre Weingarten (@Swami_EA) April 12, 2021
How long is the Edelman HoF talk going to last? The answer is no. I didn’t think it would be a debate.
And of course that doesn’t diminish his career at all.
— Geoff Schwartz (@geoffschwartz) April 12, 2021
Jordy Nelson > Julian Edelman
Neither make the HOF. Let’s not be silly today.
— Scott Kacsmar (@ScottKacsmar) April 12, 2021
Julian Edelman shoud be a hall of famer just so we can see if he can convince the guy who makes the HOF bust to include his abs in the sculpture
— PFTCommenter (@PFTCommenter) April 12, 2021
I get some people think Edelman is HOF.
Here’s the problem the HOF doesn’t even put legit WRs in HOF.
Just take Torry Holt for example.
Holt had 8 straight seasons better than any of Edelman’s best season. 6k more yards, 300 more catches & 38 more TDs with a ring. Not in https://t.co/vkK9RMNmPQ
— Robert Littal BSO (@BSO) April 12, 2021