While the New England Patriots were throttling the Detroit Lions Sunday in a 34-9 win, wide receiver Julian Edelman logged a 74-yard punt return, though the play was nullified after a referee threw a flag.
Patriots safety Patrick Chung committed an illegal block above the waist, soon after Edelman received the kick near the Lions’ sideline. Edelman, who has the highest average punt return in the NFL, would have logged his second return for a score for the season, and the fifth of his career.
Edelman took the call in stride, and commented, “I guess it’s part of the game. Yeah, it’s a tough one. I hope the penalty was real. I have to see it. I hope it was real blatant, not for like a guy to get hurt, but just that there was an actual penalty. I’m sure it was.”
Edelman added, “but it’s tough and that’s kind of one of the fine lines you’ve got to have as one of the guys on the unit. You’ve got to preach to them. You’ve got to be aggressive, you’ve got to do this, but, I didn’t see the play, but sometimes it goes the wrong way. You can’t get mad at a guy for working hard.”
Edelman holds the Patriots franchise record for longest punt return and the most punts returned for touchdowns:
Edelman has been granted a few monikers by fans and teammates since being drafted by the Patriots in 2009. He has been called “Incredelman,” “Edelmania,” “Minitron” (which was granted to him by Tom Brady), and “The Energizer Bunny.”
Edelman has said his preferred nickname is “The Squirrel.” Edelman remarked,”’Guys call me squirrel because one time on the sideline I was yelling ‘Don’t let me get squirrely out there.”’