Julian Edelman on Nullified 74-Yard Punt Return: ‘I Guess It’s Part of the Game’

Julian Edelman on Nullified 74-Yard Punt Return: 'I Guess It's Part of the Game'

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  • Julian Edelman’s 74-yard punt return against the Detroit Lions was nullified.
  • The return was nullified because of a penalty on Patrick Chung.
  • Edelman said it’s “part of the game.”

New England Patriots wide receiver and punt returner Julian Edelman told The Boston Herald that his nullified 74-yard punt return during his team’s 34-9 Week 12 victory over the Detroit Lions on Nov. 23 is “part of the game.”

Julian Edelman has chimed in on his nullified 74-yard punt return which occurred during the New England Patriots’ 34-9 Week 12 win over the Detroit Lions on Nov. 23.

Edelman told The Boston Herald’s Adam Kurkjian on Sunday that “it’s part of the game”:

“It was one of the most electrifying plays of the game, but Julian Edelman’s 74-yard punt return for an apparent touchdown ended up being wiped out on an illegal block above the waist by Patrick Chung.

“Edelman received the kick near the Lions’ sideline, made a few nifty cuts, sprinted across the field and got just inside the right pylon in what could have been his fifth punt return for a score in his career and second of the season.

“But the flag on Chung came out early, and Edelman’s run was all for naught.

“‘I guess it’s part of the game,’ Edelman said to a few laughs. ‘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.

“‘But it’s tough and that’s kind of one of the fine lines that you’ve got to have as one guys on the unit,’ he added. ‘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.'” 

Back in August, Patriots head coach Bill Belichick compared Julian Edelman’s career to retired Patriots linebacker Tedy Bruschi‘s:

“Aside from their affiliation with the New England Patriots, Julian Edelman and Tedy Bruschi could not be more different on the football field.

“The former: a former collegiate option quarterback turned shifty receiver/punt returner. The latter: a hard-charging defensive tackle turned thumping, covering inside linebacker. 

“The common thread, according to Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, is the dramatic changes both men endured in making the transition from college football to the big leagues.

“‘ I think Julian’s career compares to players like Tedy Bruschi, who played on position in college that was — I would say — pretty unrelated to the position that he played professionally,’ Belichick said on a conference call on Saturday. ‘Tedy went from a defensive tackle always in a three-point stance, never in coverage, to playing on his feet, playing middle linebacker, and playing a majority of the game in coverage. Julian was a quarterback that never returned kicks, and now, can return punts and plays receiver.’

“Edelman had the best receiving season of his career last year, totaling 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six touchdowns. he also returned a career-high 35 punts for 374 yards. His average of 12.3 yards per punt return is the highest among active players and the fourth-highest of all-time.

“He also set a Patriots franchise record with a 94-yard punt return in the season finale against the Miami Dolphins in 2010, his second year in the NFL.

“‘Julian’s worked extremely hard. I would say he’s developed skills in two areas — punt returner and receiver — that he didn’t have any experience at,’ Belichick said. ‘That’s not an easy thing to do at all. You’ve got to give a lot of credit to the amount of work and dedication and training that he’s put into that.’

“At Kent State, Edelman ran the ball nearly as often as he threw it, at least as far as quarterbacks are concerned (506 career rush attempts, 706 career pass attempts). He also had nearly as many rushing scores (22) as passing (30). 

“Edelman /4/have had no experience as a pass-catcher, but he has excelled for his ability to take his physical and mental skill set and apply it to his new position.” 

The 28-year-old Edelman has caught for 2,465 yards and 12 touchdowns on 244 receptions in 75 career regular-season games for the New England Patriots through Nov. 24, per ESPN stats

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