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A Folk Hero Turns 29: Happy Birthday, Julian Edelman!

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Happy Birthday to the Patriots' wide receiver.

From Minitron to Super(Bowl)tron - the Julian Edelman story enters its 30th year.
From Minitron to Super(Bowl)tron - the Julian Edelman story enters its 30th year.
Christian Petersen/Getty Images

The odds were stacked against him. Too small to play quarterback in the NFL, too inexperienced to play wide receiver in the Patriots' complicated offense. Yet, six years after the former Kent State quarterback was selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Julian Edelman has found his place in New England.

He has become Tom Brady's go-to receiver. He has become the team's primary punt returner. He has become a coach's dream; a player who does what is asked of him and does it at an exceptionally high level.

He has become a folk hero.

A folk hero? A folk hero!

How do you earn this title, you might ask? According to Wikipedia, you become a folk hero by "the imprinting of the name, personality and deeds of the character in the popular consciousness". Ever since joining the Patriots, Julian Edelman did just that.

He imprinted his name in New England's collective consciousness by being a playmaker. No matter if it is punt returning, catching the game-winner in the Super Bowl or throwing a touchdown pass in the playoffs, Julian does it all. On offense, on special teams and on defense as well.

He imprinted his personality in New England's collective consciousness by using social media perfectly (beyond challenging Rob Gronkowski). Not only does he have his own t-shirt collection or YouTube-channel, he even has his own theme song.

He imprinted his character in New England's collective consciousness by the time he spends in the community. Visiting hospitalsdonating game-used gearwaiting tables – Edelman does it all for charity and proves that he is versatile both on and off the field.

"Edelman" has become a household name in the Northeast – and finally gets recognized outside of New England as well. Last week, it was revealed that he was voted the 91st best player in the NFL by his peers. Furthermore, he was recently called the toughest cover in the league.

Today, Julian Edelman turns 29 and he will continue to do what he has done ever since arriving in New England six years ago: work hard and build his own legacy. His legacy as a folk hero.

Happy birthday, Jules!