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Patriots legend Julian Edelman officially announces his retirement from the NFL

Related: What Julian Edelman’s departure means for the Patriots

The New England Patriots parted ways with wide receiver Julian Edelman on Monday, releasing the veteran wide receiver with a failed physical designation. The move was just the first shoe to drop, however, because a short time later Edelman took to social media to officially announce his retirement from pro football.

“Nothing in my career has ever come easy and no surprise, this isn’t going to be easy either. I’ve always said, I’ll go until the wheels come off. And they finally have fallen off. Due to an injury last year, I’ll be making my official announcement of my retirement from football,” Edelman said in a video posted on social media. “It was a hard decision but the right decision for me and my family. And I’m honored and so proud to be retiring a Patriot.”

Edelman joined the Patriots as the 232nd selection of the 2009 draft after having played quarterback at Kent State. New England, however, had a different role in mind and turned him into a wide receiver and kick returner. The move paid off big time.

While he played a comparatively specialized role during his first four seasons with the club, and made his biggest impact in the kicking game, he developed into Tom Brady’s go-to pass catcher in 2013. With Wes Welker gone and Danny Amendola dealing with an injury, Edelman took over the number one role and never looked back. Over the seasons that followed he played a pivotal role in helping the organization win three Super Bowls — including Super Bowl 53 that saw him take home MVP honors.

Along the way, Edelman was voted to the Patriots’ Team of the 2010s and became the franchise’s playoff receiving leader. He finishes his career with 620 regular season catches for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns as well as 118 receptions for 1,442 yards and 5 touchdowns in the playoffs.

Edelman also was involved in some of the greatest moments in Patriots and NFL history — from his touchdown pass to Danny Amendola in the 2014 division playoffs, to his game-winner in the title game three weeks later, to his incredible catch versus the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl 51.