ATLANTA — Julian Edelman began the season by serving a PED suspension.
He ended it by being named Super Bowl MVP.
Edelman had a spectacular performance Sunday night in the Patriots’ 13-3 victory over the Rams in Super Bowl LIII at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. He caught 10 passes for 141 yards to help lead the Patriots to their sixth Super Bowl title and his third with the team.
The quarterback-turned-receiver already was only the second player in NFL history with more than 100 postseason catches, joining Jerry Rice, one of the greatest receivers ever.
Now Edelman, a seventh-round pick out of Kent State, has added Super Bowl MVP honors to a career that he never imagined would go this way.
“It’s hard to, that’s for sure,” he said. “I’m able to live out a dream, so it’s pretty surreal right now. I think everything happens for a reason.”
Edelman is the seventh wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP and the first since the Steelers’ Santonio Holmes in 2009.
The 5-10 Edelman detailed this past week what a crazy year it has been for him. But it couldn’t have ended any better.
Afterward, he shared a long embrace with Tom Brady.
“The hug was two Bay-area boys who love football and love to compete and we’re living our dreams,” Edelman said.
He said being back in the Super Bowl “means the world.” He was unable to play in last year’s 41-33 loss to the Eagles after suffering an ACL tear in the preseason.
Edelman couldn’t play the first four games this season because of the suspension but had a productive 12-game regular season. He was even better in the postseason with 16 receptions for 247 yards entering the Super Bowl, but he saved his best for last.
“That was one of the best games he ever played,” an elated Brady said.
Brady’s favorite target had two catches for 31 yards on the Patriots’ first scoring drive, which ended with Stephen Gostkowski’s field goal. Edelman also had a 13-yard catch on the Patriots’ only touchdown drive in the fourth quarter.
“He’s a fighter, man,” Brady said. “He’s been an incredible player for this team in the playoffs and he just cemented himself, again, in the history of the NFL for his accomplishments.”
Julian Edelman is the seventh wide receiver to be named Super Bowl MVP. He joins:
Player, Team Super Bowl
Lynn Swann, Pitt. X
Fred Biletnikoff, Oak. XI
Jerry Rice, SF XXIII
Deion Branch, NE XXXIX
Hines Ward, Pitt. XL
Santonio Holmes, Pitt. XLIII