On Saturday afternoon at Fenway Park, Dustin Pedroia made his long-awaited return to the Red Sox lineup. He only played 105 games last year, and as the longest tenured member of the team, more or less the team’s captain and mentor – and a two-time World Series champ – it’s safe to say that just about everybody was ready for him to get back out on the field.
Having Pedroia back at second base made things feel right with Red Sox Nation, like the final piece of a puzzle had finally been found and put in the right place. He even scored a run in Boston’s 8-6 win over the Braves.
It’s going to be a very similar feeling in September, when Julian Edelman finally gets back on the field for the Patriots. The 2017 season was great and all, seeing as how the Pats were back in the Super Bowl again for the third time in four years, but Edelman missed the entire season. The team never really felt complete. It was like the Rebel Alliance going to blow up the second Death Star in “Return of the Jedi,” only they were doing it without a central character like Han Solo or Chewbacca.
In all honesty, could Tom Brady ask for a better sidekick than Edelman? He’s fiercely loyal, he loves playing with him, he’ll fight to the death to defend Brady against anyone or anything, and he plays harder than just about anybody in the league. He’ll come up with the biggest catches in the biggest moments, such as when he scooped the ball off the ground in Super Bowl 51, saving both the game and the season. Heck, he’ll even launch a touchdown pass down the field if he has to, as we all saw in that glorious playoff game against the Ravens three years ago.
Brady has thrown to a lot of targets over the years, but Edelman has to be his favorite. He’ll never admit it. When he’s had so many great receivers, such as Troy Brown, and Randy Moss, and Wes Welker, it’s hard to single anyone out. But there’s just a special connection between Brady and Edelman that he hasn’t really had with anyone else. Only a Patriots fan can truly appreciate it.
There has been a lot of talk over the past several months (from myself included) about finding the next quarterback to succeed Brady, which is totally a fair discussion. But for the time being, we get to enjoy at least one more season of Brady throwing to Edelman every week. It really doesn’t get much better than that.
Hopefully this time, it isn’t derailed by a brutal preseason injury. The preseason is just the worst.