New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman did not get a spot on the Pro Bowl, All-Pro or any other of the NFL’s other all-star teams for his 2019 season, but he sure has earned recognition as one of the toughest players in all of football. After all, the Super Bowl MVP put up outstanding numbers as his team’s number one pass catcher despite having to deal with an array of injuries — two of which reportedly leading to offseason surgery.
It all started in Week 3, when Edelman suffered what has just recently been revealed by ESPN’s Adam Schefter as a partially torn rib cartilage during the Patriots’ 30-14 win over the New York Jets. While he had to leave the game due to the injury shortly before the half, the 33-year-old eventually returned and finished the contest as its leading receiver: the Super Bowl MVP caught seven passes for 62 yards and a touchdown.
Despite the rib injury that plagued Edelman for most of the season and was severe enough to potentially have landed him on injured reserve, he did not miss any time and was back on the field again the following week. While seeing comparatively limited action, the veteran continued to fill his role as New England’s most consistent and productive wide receiver — even when he suffered two other injuries later during the regular season.
In Week 9, Edelman first popped up on the Patriots’ injury report because of a left shoulder issue that turned out to be a separated AC joint. In mid-December, he furthermore hurt his knee. Both injuries will eventually require surgery and limited him late in the year, but Edelman did not miss any playing time because of them and remained a key piece in the Patriots’ offense throughout the season while finishing it with a playing time share of 87.4% (1,057 of 1,210 offensive snaps).
All in all, he registered 100 receptions for 1,117 yards — a new career-high — and six touchdowns during the regular season before adding three more catches for 30 yards during New England’s lone playoff game. While the numbers may not necessarily stand out when compared to some of the league’s other top receivers, the context of his injuries and the lack of other viable receiving threats on the Patriots’ roster makes Edelman’s 2019 one of the most impressive individual efforts in recent memory.