- Covered Patriots since 1997
- Joined ESPN in 2009
As the longest-tenured player on offense and leading receiver on the New England Patriots, Julian Edelman has a unique perspective on the ongoing quarterback competition to replace his longtime friend Tom Brady.
Edelman is in the process of developing a rapport with Cam Newton, 2019 fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham and 11-year veteran Brian Hoyer — especially Newton, who officially joined the team on July 8.
“He’s definitely a former MVP for a reason. The guy is a professional. He works his tail off. He’s extremely dynamic, and he has a charming personality,” Edelman said of Newton on sports radio WEEI. “It’s been fun to be around. He has a confidence about him. All quarterbacks have a confidence, but it’s just a little different with Cam. It’s a vibe that can feel you and get you in a mindset.
“It’s also been great to see Stid come out and develop his personality and what he’s become. And Hoy being such a smart guy who has been in the system for so long. It’s been fun to play with all of them.”
Edelman also noted the presence of undrafted free agent Brian Lewerke, who is a developmental quarterback. But his comments about the difference with Newton reflect how the 31-year-old former Carolina Panther has quickly established himself as a tone setter in New England — from his dancing to music during warm-ups to his booming voice across the practice field.
While coach Bill Belichick evenly distributed repetitions among the quarterbacks through the first three practices of training camp and has kept open the possibility of platooning them into the regular season, Newton saw an increase in competitive opportunities on Thursday.
Stidham was taken to a local hospital on Thursday for precautionary tests on his upper leg that came back negative, a league source told ESPN’s Adam Schefter. Stidham returned to the team Friday morning and went through practice, though with a lighter load than usual.
Edelman, who remains close friends with Brady, previously said: “I love him to death, but the train keeps on moving.” The 34-year-old likes the direction the train is headed.
“The competition in that room has been great. All three of those guys, and Lewerke, they are all working hard. It’s been a great new energy,” Edelman said on WEEI. “It’s something I never had to deal with, with someone other than who we used to have. It’s been fun to go out there and play with other guys.”
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