Wednesday 20 February 2019

New England Patriots' Julian Edelman goes from drug ban to Super Bowl MVP in a matter of months

New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (11) with the Vince Lombardi Trophy after winning Super Bowl LIII against the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

Patriots' Julian Edelman, an undersized wide receiver few thought would ever make a name for himself in NFL, won the Super Bowl MVP trophy on Sunday after his key plays helped lift New England to a 13-3 victory over the Los Angeles Rams.

In a game where both offenses struggled to find the end zone, Edelman made the most of his opportunities, catching 10 of the 12 passes thrown his way for 141 yards while rushing once for eight yards.

The speedy 32-year-old, nicknamed 'The Squirrel', was quarterback Tom Brady's most reliable target on Sunday, providing an offensive spark every time it was needed en route to his third championship with the team.

Edelman is one of the most unlikely Super Bowl MVPs in league history.

He was taken 232nd in the 2009 NFL draft after not even being invited to participate in league tryouts, but Patriots coach Bill Belichick managed to shape him into a key component of the team's offensive attack.

Edelman said he was focused on getting the team back to the championship after a torn ACL forced him to miss all of last season and he had to watch the Patriots fall to the Philadelphia Eagles in last year's Super Bowl.

He was hit with a four-game ban at the start of the season for the use of performance enhancing drugs. The illegal substances found in his system have never been publicly disclosed and he refutes any claims that he intentionally took a PED.

"My head was down, just trying to go out and try to win ball games and help the team," he said.

Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (C) performs with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (C) performs with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (C) performs with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (C) performs with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleaders Napoleon Jinnies (R) and Quinton Peron perform with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (bottom R) perform with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron (C) stands with other cheerleader during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron smiles during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron reacts during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron (C) claps during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron smiles during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleaders Napoleon Jinnies (R) and Quinton Peron perform with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron (R) and Rams cheerleader Napoleon Jinnies (2nd row from R) perform with other cheerleaders during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images
Rams cheerleader Quinton Peron (L) looks on during Super Bowl LIII between the New England Patriots and the Los Angeles Rams at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, on February 3, 2019. (Photo by TIMOTHY A. CLARY / AFP)TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images

"Tough times don't last, tough people do," he said.

"I preach that and I guess you have to live to it."

Edelman said the Patriots defense deserved just as much credit as he did for never allowing the Rams' high-powered offense to get within 20 yards of the Patriots end zone on Sunday.

"The defense was unreal holding that offense to three points. It is pretty crazy," he said.

"They should be the MVP -- the whole defense."

Edelman also praised Brady, who won his sixth championship at the team's helm on Sunday.

"He is like a brother to me. He has helped me so much. He has been a huge part of mentally coaching me up just through his actions and how he is as a football player, as a professional, as a father and as a family man," he said.

"It is an honor to get to play with a guy like that."

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