Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is having a career year so far this season. (USA TODAY IMAGES)

It appears that Julian Edelman has a new nickname that seems to be gaining a little momentum after Tom Brady referred to him as “Mini-Tron’ to Tom Curran of CSNNE on the way to the team bus Sunday night in Houston.

What seemed to be a private joke at the time Brady has now made public, after using it again on the airwaves during his weekly interview with WEEI Monday morning.

“‘Mini-Tron’ had a good game yesterday,” said Brady when referring to Edelman on Monday.  ”He’s been consistent and dependable. He’s always had a great skill set, it’s just been a matter of him getting the opportunity and then staying on the field. There’s been a few years where he hasn’t been able to finish the season. But when he’s been out there, he’s been productive. This year has been a great year for him. He’s really taken to his leadership role. He’s just done a great job cementing his dependability, really what you’re looking for on offense.”

‘Mini-Tron’ is a playful take on Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson’s nickname, who is known around the league as ‘Megatron’. Johnson is 6’5″ tall, while Edelman is just 5’10″, which is obviously considerably smaller.

However, his play on the field certainly hasn’t been. Edelman so far this season is having a career year, with Sunday’s second straight nine-catch performance giving him 70 receptions on the season.   It also triggered a $250,000 performance incentive thanks to the one-year deal he signed before this season.   He’s currently 33 ahead of Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski, who are next in receptions with 37, and also two ahead of former Patriots receiver Wes Welker, who has 68 on the year.

He’s also the team’s leading 3rd down receiver, with 17 receptions for 159 yards and 11 first downs along with two touchdowns.

His big play ability seems to have elevated his status, and it seems from now on, we’ll now need to refer to him as ‘Mini-Tron’. Not bad for a guy who almost didn’t end up back with the team this past offseason, and fortunately for the Patriots he’s making the most of his opportunities.