Edelman Has Earned Respect

Julian Edelman (USPRESSIRE)

Patriots WR Julian Edelman isn't just a third string wide receiver for the Patriots, he's also a defensive back, and a punt returner. So what do his teammates think about the jack of all trades? FOX Sports found out this week.

Patriots third year player Julian Edelman is a man of many talents.  He is a receiver, defensive back, punt returner and a coverage player on kickoffs.  To put it bluntly, there isn't a position Edelman doesn't play with the exception of the big bodies on the offensive or defensive lines. 

Playing multiple positions is something the Patriots like from their athletes, just ask Troy Brown who was the "Mr. Versatility"  for the Patriots before Edelman was.
So what does all that versatility mean on the field?

According to Edelman's teammates, the willingness to move from his college position -- starting quarterback at Kent State – to wide receiver shows his openness to helping the team in any way he can.  Playing special teams, was just another part of the process for receivers who do not start with the offense. It's Edelman's role on defense that has players talking.

The Patriots have asked Edelman to play more defense as the team shuffled the roster during the 2011 season.  He responded without hesitation, forgoing his role as an offensive player for another job that could get him burned.  As Giants wide receiver Mario Manningham stated this week, he hopes Edelman is out there.  But Edleman's teammates have the utmost respect for the multi-faceted dimensions Edelman brings.

"You can't explain what he's gone through, especially in a couple games where he plays both sides of the ball," Patriots Devin McCourty said on Media day. "The guy has been on the field, sometimes for 20 to 30 consecutive plays, offense, defense and special teams."

McCourty wasn't the only player to talk about Edelman in a positive light.  Edelman's fellow receiver Deion Branch couldn't pour the compliments out fast enough.

"Ah man, great player, great athlete," Branch said about Edelman without hesitation. "He's  a sponge, and he wants to do it.  It's not like coach [Belichick] asked him ‘can you do this for me?'". He wants to help the team."

On Sunday, expect to see Edelman lining up again, and again, and again, and again.  As McCourty said, you may just see number 11 out there 20 to 30 plays in a row.

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