Julian Edelman was born in Redwood City, California to Frank and Angela Edelman-his father is Jewish and his mother is not. He began playing football at an early age and at 8 and 12 years old respectively his Pop Warner teams were the Super Bowl champions. Edelman credits "much of his success" at sports to his father, who was "tough" on him growing up (Frank's number one rule was "no sniveling") and was also the coach of his Pop Warner teams. His mom was considered the light hearted one and is affectionally nicknamed "Edelmom."
From an early age, Edelman was an instinctive daredevil (he once jumped off a roof on a dare from his brother) and natural competitor even competing with his brother who was 7 years older than him. He also never shied away from a fight saying in his memoir, Relentless: A Memoir: “I would talk sh– to a big dude even if I knew I was still going to get my a– beat. I got beat up my whole life.”
Although Edelman was small, 4'11 upon entering Woodside High School, he never gave up his dream of becoming a football star--His mother remembers he was already practicing his autograph as a young boy.
He moved around to various positions from tailback to quarterback to wide receiver, and ultimately focused on the quarterback role in high school.
After high school he attended the College of San Mateo and from there transferred to Kent State University where he started for three years as a quarterback and in his senior year racked up impressive stats such as completing 56% of his passes. As a keen devotee of all aspects of football, he was also the leading rusher.
Edelman, barely picked by the New England Patriots in the 2009 draft during 7th round selections, once on the team, worked so hard that he had to be "kicked out" of the facility late at night. On his first practice he began cementing his image as a dedicated and extreme hard worker by throwing up after the session. He also began to build up what would become a long lasting bond with Tom Brady, so much so that they consider their relationship a "brotherhood."
As an NFL player he is considered small at 5'10 and weighing less than 200 lbs. As the legend goes, as a young boy he used to cry in his dad's arms because he was always the smallest boy on every team he was on. But persevere he did...
As a player of extraordinary versatility, Edelman played both wide receiver and cornerback. He also holds the Patriots record for "longest punt return and the most punts returned for touchdowns."
Edelman didn't start making a household name for himself until the 2013 season. While mostly in the shadows of slot receiver Wes Welker, by the 2014-2015 season he emerged out of the shadows and started racking up impressive statistics. By the 2017 Super Bowl against the Atlanta Falcons, Edelman made one of the most famous catches in history:
He was sidelined for the 2017 season with an ACL injury and was suspended for the first four games of the 2018 season for testing positive on a banned substance.
In February 2019 he became the first Jewish Super Bowl MVP after the Patriots beat the L.A. Rams 13-3 at the LIII game in Atlanta. In that game he made 10 catches for 141 yards. He also has the 2nd most post season receptions of all time, just after Jerry Rice.
At the date of writing (February 2019) Edelman has played in four Super Bowl games and racked up hundreds of yards in receptions.
Although he was not raised religiously, he tweets on Jewish holidays, has worn an Israel flag at a game, and written a children's book that makes reference to Theodor Herzl, the founder of Zionism. He also celebrates Chanuka.
Edelman is the recipient of the Genesis Prize, given to individuals "who have attained international renown in their chosen professional fields, have made a significant contribution to improving the world, are proud of their Jewish heritage, and inspire young Jews through their dedication to philanthropy and social justice."