AOL Exclusive: Julian Edelman remembers Junior Seau, speaks about new NFL concussion protocol

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Tom Brady Catches TD Pass One-Handed from Julian Edelman


By JOHN DORN

The New England Patriots are about to kick off what should be the most interesting quest to defend a championship the league has ever seen. Amidst seemingly never-ending drama involving Tom Brady, Robert Kraft and Roger Goodell, it's easy to overlook the fact that New England figures to content for another title in Super Bowl 50 -- and wide receiver Julian Edelman is a big piece to the puzzle.

AOL spoke with Edelman recently to discuss his new role as the face of NFL Apparel's men's line. You can read the full Q&A here. In addition to discussing his new role, the 29-year-old opened up his brief time as Hall of Famer Junior Seau's teammate in New England.

Edelman entered the NFL in 2009 -- which was Seau's last year in the league before retiring. The linebacker didn't accomplish much on the field -- just nine tackles in seven games as a 40-year-old. But his impact in the locker room an behind the scenes was immeasurable.

Edelman recalls one particular scene from the beginning of his rookie campaign with New England.

"I was taking my parents out for the very first time in Boston -- this nice restaurant -- and Junior is there," he said. "He takes time out of his dinner to come and talk to my folks and tell them how they've done a great job of raising me. It's stuff like that that makes Junior a great guy."

Growing up in California, Edelman says he grew up a fan of the longtime Chargers linebacker. Spending a year on the same roster, he says, was "unreal."

"The guy is playing forever, and he goes up to you the first day and he calls you Buddy Buddy and makes you feel comfortable," he said. "One of the best football players I've ever played with. It was a privilege and an honor for me to get to play with him."

Another frequent point of discussion entering this season is yet another tweak to the NFL's concussion protocol -- potentially stemming directly from an incident involving Edelman in the Super Bowl.

Edelman absorbed a head-to-head hit in the fourth quarter against the Seattle Seahawks, and remained in the game despite appearing dazed.



This season, concussion spotters will not of the authority to stop a game if they deem a player is showing concussion symptoms on the field -- a twist that's being referred to as the Julian Edelman Rule. And while the rule lends itself to interruptions of game flow and tempo, the rule's namesake understands the end goal by the league.

"The NFL is gonna do what they always feel is best for the safety of the player. It makes it a safer game. there's always pros to it, so we'll see how it goes," he said. "It's still new. It's gonna be different, but we always adjust. I think it'll be alright."

Edelman hasn't practiced since Tuesday with an injury that the Patriots haven't disclosed, but Bill Belichick has labeled the receiver "day-to-day." New England opens its preseason slate on Aug. 13 against the Green Bay Packers at Gillette Stadium.

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AOL Exclusive: Julian Edelman remembers Junior Seau, speaks about new NFL concussion protocol
KENT, OH - SEPTEMBER 30, 2006: Quarterback Julian Edelman #11 of the Kent State Golden Flashes throws a pass during a game against the Akron Zips on September 30, 2006 at Dix Stadium in Kent, Ohio. Kent State won 37-15. (Photo by: Tom Cammett/Diamond Images/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - 2009: Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots poses for his 2009 NFL headshot at photo day in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by NFL Photos)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - CIRCA 2010: In this handout image provided by the NFL, Julian Edelman of the New England Patriots poses for his 2010 NFL headshot circa 2010 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by NFL via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH - MAY 2: Julian Edelman #11 participates in a drill during the New England Patriots Minicamp at Gillette Stadium May 2, 2009 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 10: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Baltimore Ravens during the 2010 AFC wild-card playoff game at Gillette Stadium on January 10, 2010 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Ravens won 33-14. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
ATLANTA - AUGUST 19: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots relaxes on the bench during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on August 19, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. The Patriots won 28-10. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH - NOVEMBER 21: After the Patriots Julian Edelman (#11) returned a third quarter punt return 72 yards for a touchdown that put New England ahead 24-3, he got congratulations from head coach Bill Belichick, with special teams coach Scott O'Brien waiting his turn at far left. The New England Patriots hosted the Kansas City Chiefs in a Monday Night Football NFL regular season game at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - DECEMBER 14: Julian Edelman runs during the New England Patriots practice at the practice field at Gillette Stadium. (Photo by Bill Greene/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - OCTOBER 11: Julian Edelman at practice as the New England Patriots prepare for their upcoming game Sunday against Seattle. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 6: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up before a game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 29: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots watches the action against the Atlanta Falcons at the Georgia Dome on September 29, 2013 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Scott Cunningham/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - DECEMBER 8: Tom Brady #12 of the New England Patriots celebrates the game-winning touchdown with Julian Edelman #11 in the 4th quarter at Gillette Stadium on December 8, 2013 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - DECEMBER 15: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman (#11) takes a 24-yard catch and run, breaking several tackles en route to scoring a touchdown in the fourth quarter to bring the score to 20-17 with the extra point try. The New England Patriots take on the Miami Dolphins at SunLife Stadium. (Photo by Barry Chin/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - NOVEMBER 1: New England Patriots Julian Edelman celebrates his punt return touchdown with teammate Tom Brady against the Denver Broncos during second quarter action at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, November 1, 2014. (Photo by Matthew J. Lee/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
ORCHARD PARK, NY - OCTOBER 12: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots and Tom Brady #12 look on from the bench during NFL game action against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on October 12, 2014 in Orchard Park, New York. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - OCTOBER 05: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots attempts to catch a pass during the second quarter against the Cincinnati Bengals at Gillette Stadium on October 5, 2014 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Wide receiver Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots warms up prior to Super Bowl XLIX against the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, AZ - JANUARY 27: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots addresses the media at Super Bowl XLIX Media Day Fueled by Gatorade inside U.S. Airways Center on January 27, 2015 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - JANUARY 18: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots celebrates after defeating the Indianapolis Colts in the 2015 AFC Championship Game at Gillette Stadium on January 18, 2015 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. The Patriots defeated the Colts 45-7. (Photo by Jared Wickerham/Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots gets ready for Super Bowl XLIX between the Seattle Seahawks and the New England Patriots at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JULY 30: The New England Patriots held their first day of training camp at the practice filed next to Gillette Stadium. Julian Edelman walks on to the field. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
GLENDALE, AZ - FEBRUARY 01: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots looks on against the Seattle Seahawks during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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