Julian Edelman has always loved Tom Brady and hasn’t been afraid to show it. In fact, he pretended to be Brady in eighth grade and has called playing with Brady and for the Patriots the highlight of his life.
A lot of wide receivers try to butter up their quarterbacks at least a little bit, but isn’t this a bit much?
“You can never do that,” former NFL wide receiver and two-time Super Bowl champion Brandon Stokley said on CBS Sports Radio’s The DA Show, laughing. “Nothing is out of bounds, nothing is off-limits. I don’t blame the guy one bit. I kind of appreciate that. Look, he wants the football, and I’m sure Tom doesn’t need much from Julian to throw him the football. He’s a pretty special player.”
Edelman, 30, caught 61 balls for 692 yards and seven touchdowns in nine games last season. He caught 92 balls in 14 games in 2014 and 105 balls in 16 games in 2013. That’s 258 catches in his last 39 games – or, 6.6 per contest.
So yeah, the two have good rapport, which Stokley knows all about. After all, he played with Peyton Manning for five seasons – four in Indianapolis (2003-06) and one in Denver, in 2012.
“Oh yeah, I always buttered him up – and I still do,” Stokley said. “There’s no shame in that. You got to know where your bread is buttered, right? That’s the quarterback position, especially in Indy. When you’re playing on the side of Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and then you got Dallas Clark, the opportunities could be limited. Especially when you’re blowing teams out in the fourth quarter and you’re looking for a couple cheap receptions, that all goes back to how well you treated that guy – so I always tried to treat him extra special and made sure I picked up the dinner tabs and all those types of things.”
Still, Stokley doesn’t think it’s absolutely necessary for a wide receiver to best friends with his quarterback.
“You need to have a healthy respect for each other and know that you’re all striving to win football games,” he said. “Most people, when you’re on that level, are good friends and do get along. But I don’t think it’s necessary. Just as long as you trust each other, you go out there and you work hard, I think it can be successful. Obviously it helps having a close relationship between quarterback and receiver, but I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary.”