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Julian Edelman opens up on the importance of his dad’s example

Julian Edelman and his father, Frank. –Courtesy of Angie Edelman

From his days playing for the Redwood City 49ers in Pop Warner league to starring for the New England Patriots after getting selected in the seventh round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Julian Edelman has had his father, Frank, as an unwavering source of support and motivation.

After signing a two-year contract extension with the same organization that drafted him eight years ago, the 31-year-old reflected on the strong influence of his father, touching on what he’s learned from his “pops” and how essential he was in shaping who he is today.

What is the earliest memory of your father?

JE: I can just remember being in the diapers when he was a football coach, coaching my older brother. Those are probably some of my earliest memories. I was on the football field from when I was one until now, so that definitely defines my younger years with my father.

What role did he play in football instruction when you were a kid?

JE: He was a huge influence on a lot of decision making in all aspects of football in my life. Not only did he help me with that, but he also coached me and taught me the fundamentals of football. He worked with me, put me through crazy little drills … it’s a blessing to have a guy like that in my life.

back to the ol’ bay area this weekend #roots #rookiecard #tbt pic.twitter.com/Y7EHYrJMTy

— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) November 17, 2016

What did he teach you about work ethic and motivation?

JE: He showed me work ethic by how much we practiced, but he also led by example — by being a small-business owner, waking up at 5 a.m., getting to the shop, doing what he’s gotta do, and then coming home, working with me, and coaching after-school sports. It’s one of those things where he not only taught me through constant repetition through practice — and as a kid you learn, the more you practice the better you are — but he also showed by example.

What did he teach you about success off the field?

JE: He would always say things like, “Life’s about fundamentals,” which can be applicable to anything. He’d also say, “If you ever wanna do something, go out and do it. Do everything you have to.” I feel like the teaching and lessons that developed on the sports field were applicable to real life, too.

How are you and your dad most similar?

JE: Workaholics, probably. I always used to complain about not going on vacations because he didn’t like leaving work. Now that I’m older, it’s kinda that same kinda thing. If I’m away from something for too long, if I’m not training or doing something for football, there’s, like, almost an anxiety. I need to be doing something or I’m wasting my time — even when I’m on vacation. It’s nuts.

How are you and your dad most different?

JE: I’m probably a little bit more outgoing than my dad. I got my mom in me.

Julian Edelman with his mother, Angie, and father, Frank. —Courtesy of Samuel Biggers

When did you make your dad most proud?

JE: It’s tough. You’d have to ask him. I can’t really speak for him, but I would probably say going out and winning the Super Bowl a couple times has been probably a huge moment in his life because he never got to do those types of things. He had to work at such a young age. It’s been kind of our experience. It wasn’t just win for me and my team; it was a win for me and my family. I would say that, and probably the birth of my daughter.

What was it like to have your dad at both Super Bowls?

JE: It’s a pretty cool thing to have your pops there for the sheer fact that we’ve done so much together to get to where I’m at.

New England Patriots Julian Edelman makes a catch against the Atlanta Falcons during Super Bowl 51, Sunday, Feb. 5, 2017 in Houston.

Did he go to a lot of games when you were younger?

JE: He went to all of them.

Did that continue through high school and college?

JE: In college, he would make road trips. When I got to the NFL, he’d like to come out, but the TV is so good nowadays. He doesn’t want to be around people and have them asking him questions. He’s so intense about the game and how I’m doing.

Can you remember a time you disappointed your dad?

JE: There’s probably a couple report cards out there that made him a little disappointed. He didn’t like C’s. He did not like those.