Julian Edelman Dishes On Working With The GOAT, Sitting Out This Season And Where To Find Boston’s Best Burgers

The New England Patriots are gearing up for Saturday night’s AFC Divisional Round against the Tennessee Titans with the goal of winning yet another Super Bowl ring. To celebrate in Patriots Nation, we caught up with wide receiver, Julian Edelman, to find out what he has been up to this season since suffering an ACL tear in his right knee during a pre-season game, where to find Boston’s best burgers and why “you gotta believe.”

How does it feel watching the Patriots make it this far, but not being able to play?

You’re still part of the team. I am happy to see them play in the playoffs because I have seen firsthand how hard this team works. To get this opportunity is not given; it’s earned. It would be a better experience if I was playing, but I have to focus on getting my body in tip top shape for next year.

What makes playing for New England so special?

I’m homegrown here. The fans have embraced my career. It’s a special place to play and there is so much history in the city of Boston. It’s the first big city in New England. Boston is really just a cool place to play.

What is it like to work alongside the GOAT (Tom Brady aka The Greatest Of All Time)?

It has been a great thing for me individually because I’m getting an eyewitness how to chase greatness, how to be a family man, competitor and teammate. Tom has been a great influence in my life on and off the field.

We know you enjoy skateboarding. Do you see any “skateboard touchdown celebrations” next year to compete with the Gronk spike?

(Laughs) I like to leisurely cruise around town on a longboard. When it’s work time, I focus on the assignment, but I do enjoy skateboarding in my spare time.

What did you do this season to keep busy?

First off, you go to the facility and you’re rehabbing. With the injury, I was able to spend more valuable time with my daughter (Lily), who just turned one year old. It’s one of those things that with everything bad, there is good that comes out of it. When in season, the constant grind for personal time is huge so I enjoyed being able to have that time to spend with my daughter. I also wrote my second children’s book and had the opportunity to design a jean (Joe’s Jeans), but I would rather be suiting up my cleats with my family at the game.

What has Bill Belichick taught you that has impacted you personally and/or professionally?

Bill Belichick has been an awesome, awesome guy to learn from. The example of how he is daily and his attention to detail is what he consistently lives by. That right there explains the way he is. It’s the same with Tom. At a high level of success, they are special people, fundamentally sound who never get complacent. That’s the kind of guy Bill Belichick has been and I have never seen him let up in the nine years I have been playing here. To see the dedication he has is remarkable.

Other than Gronk, which one of your teammates would you say brings the most energy to the game?

I think all of the guys bring energy in their own ways. Devin McCourty, when he makes a big play, he’s a captain type of guy. When I see Danny Amendola get hit hard, get up and shake it off. Matt Slater, when he is being double and triple teamed, that’s what fires me up along with James White, Nate Solder, Marcus Cannon. Football is just a contagious sport.

What is your favorite type of music to listen to get you amped up for a game?

I have a weird mix. When I am working out, I listen to inspirational speeches. It helps to focus on preparing for a game. When it comes to music, I don’t have one type of genre I listen to. I like to keep a mix. When I am relaxing, I listen to Harry Connick, Jr., but I also like JAY-Z, Dre, AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Jimi Hendrix and Kings of Leon. I also like euphoric alternative music like M83.

We all know how much you love burgers. Who does it best in Boston and how would you say your diet compares to Tom’s plant-based one?

I eat pretty well during the season. When I am playing, I go with the motto 80 percent fuel, 20 percent pleasure. Everything in moderation, but I do love a good burger. There are a few really good spots in Boston like Hojoko at The Verb Hotel, R.F. O’Sullivan’s in Somerville, JM Curley downtown and Mr. Bartley’s in Harvard Square. Shake Shack does a good burger and it’s close to my house. It’s very simple. Everywhere I go, I have to get a burger even just to get a little nibble.

Julian EdelmanPhoto Credit: Julian Edelman

What are some of your favorite places in Boston, i.e. restaurants, haute spots, etc.?

I love the Strega Group. Nick (Varano) is like Mr. Boston. I like Ken Oringer’s restaurants, Toro, UNI, Little Donkey. The Southie Group also does a good job with Loco, Capo and Lincoln Tavern. Around Back Bay, I love Casa Romero for Mexican food. I like Mother Juice for my smoothies. It’s a cool town and we have a lot of great seafood options at Legal Sea Foods and Mastro’s, which just opened up in the Seaport District. I also like Mistral and Sorellina. When I go to Cambridge, I like Alden & Harlow. Taiwan Cafe in Chinatown is one of my favorite Chinese spots. I also like crudo and ramen. I eat good all week, so I like to try one good restaurant on the weekend. Boston isn’t like LA or New York that both have a lot of healthy spots. In Boston, it’s like, I am going to have a lobster roll.

You recently participated in Christmas in the City. What charitable organizations are near and dear to your heart?

Best Buddies has been an unbelievable organization. I got linked up there my rookie year with Tom and have become an ambassador of the program. They have raised so much money for these awesome kids. They have a bike ride each year, which is always fun. I also do a lot of stuff with the Patriots Charitable Foundation. We give out turkeys at Thanksgiving. To be able to help the community is a great thing and I realize all of these opportunities come from football. It has been an incredible year, but right now my focus is on the knee. I was put on this earth to play football and that’s what I am focused on right now.

As for this season?

You gotta believe!