Growing up in Northern California’s Bay Area during the 1980’s and 1990’s, New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman fell in love with the game of football partly thanks to the San Francisco 49ers dynasty of that era.
As the Patriots prepare for a matchup with his childhood team Sunday, Edelman took some time during his press conference Friday to reflect upon the influence the 49ers have had on his life.
“A lot of great memories of mine were growing up and supporting and loving the San Francisco 49ers,” Edelman explained.
“Then playing for the Redwood City 49ers, going out and winning a couple Super Bowls and really developing my love of this game in the beginning part of me playing football was for a 49er team. It’s definitely pretty cool to be able to play them. This isn’t my first time, but it’s always a pretty special kind of game just because all my friends back home, my family we were all diehard Niners fans. Any time you get to see that red and gold, it’s special to us. It’s a pretty cool experience. I’m looking forward to doing it and going out and getting to play against a very good 49ers football team.”
Edelman went on to say both his dogs were named after 49ers legends Dwight Clark and Joe Montana as a homage to “The Catch” in 1982.
As for which player stood out the most to him on those teams, Edelman shared high praise for wide receiver Jerry Rice.
“I would definitely say Jerry Rice has been a huge inspiration on me as a football player and [from his] work ethic, him and my father. Growing up in Redwood City, they had Edgewood Park and there was Jerry Rice Hill and it was the folklore. It was known that Jerry Rice used to go up and run that hill and everyone knew about his work ethic.”
“I think Jerry kind of was a pioneer for the professional athlete of nowadays. Now everyone is so specialized in training and this and dieticians and their craft. Jerry was doing that…Mr. Rice was doing that in the ‘80s before it was so popularized like it is now. He’s been a huge inspiration to me.”
Oddly enough, Rice was a family friend to the Edelman’s and Julian even dated his daughter in high school but neither got to know each other well enough to talk football.
“Growing up around his family, he was so busy with football, it wasn’t anything like me being able to break down or ask any questions, I was too terrified of him because he was the GOAT.”
Fast forward 30 years, Edelman is now second in all-time postseason receptions, trailing only the Hall of Famer Rice 151 to 118.
On Instagram this week, the Patriots shared some “Throwback Thursday” photographs of a young Edelman sporting his Redwood City 49ers Pop Warner football gear.
Edelman and the Patriots will look to get back to their winning ways against the old friend Jimmy Garoppolo and the defending NFC Champion 49ers this Sunday afternoon at Gillette Stadium.
Posted Under: Patriots News
Tags: Jerry Rice Jimmy Garoppolo Joe Montana Julian Edelman