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Mike Shalin's Working Press: Edelman is consistent, resilient

By MIKE SHALIN
December 17. 2016 11:58PM

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman points to a fan during warmups before Monday's game against Baltimore at Gillette Stadium. Edelman's consistency - a catch in 63 straight games - is one of the Pats' keys to success. (USA TODAY Sports)



Is Julian Edelman underappreciated?

Count at least one reader, Dot Julien, an 82-year-old Pats fan, as one who thinks so.

Dot wrote: "Hi..enjoy your pieces on the Patriots. I do hope that people writing and speaking about them includes the awesome job that Edelman does each and every week. He doesn't get enough credit do you think?"

"I have loved the Pats ever since the days of Stanley Morgan, even tho I am a 82 year old woman!"

Dot, I think you're right, so I looked up some numbers for the former college quarterback.

In short, when Edelman is compared with many of the monsters in the NFL, No. 11 has been Mr. Consistency since following Wes Welker into that slot receiver role. When the Patriots visit Denver today, Edelman will be looking to catch a pass in his 63rd consecutive game, counting postseason, where he has caught 57 passes in seven games the last three seasons.

Already one of three Pats receivers with 100 catches in a season (Welker, Troy Brown), he has 79 with three games left in the regular season. He's obviously never afraid to take a hit.

You know Tom Brady and everyone connected with the team appreciate Edelman, with Brady sometimes showing his "love" with angry words, like last week, when Edelman didn't run a correct route.

"There was a miscommunication," Edelman told WEEI. "I have to do better and go on from there. That's just ebbs and flows of competitiveness in a crucial game. I know how he is. I'd be a little more scared if he wasn't yelling at me, because if he yells at you, he says he loves you.

"He must really love me, I guess."

He does.

"I let him take his steam off," Edelman said. "I'll be that punching bag, as long as it makes him feel good. It's a relationship. It's give and take."

He's outta there

I have voted for Curt Schilling for the Hall of Fame since he hit the ballot. Great postseason numbers to go with his regular season success. I don't even care about his conservative political views. I was even overlooking his comparing Muslims to Nazis (that got him canned by ESPN), where he notes there's a "long-standing connection between Islam and the Nazi party."

But here's where I draw the line: the guy collects Nazi memorabilia as part of his World War II interest.

"It was a tragically horrible time in the world's history,'' Schilling said last year. "I have never done anything to offend anyone. I don't have a racist bone in my body. People that know me know that. I can't help what people get offended by. I can't help how people want to interpret things.''

The whole thing brought back memories of the late Marge Schott, the blustery former owner of the Cincinnati Reds punished by MLB for having similar items and saying, among other things, Adolf Hitler wasn't so bad in the beginning.

Sorry, Curt, I know you're allowed to collect anything you want - heck, I have 150 bobbleheads - I just don't have to like it, nor vote for you thanks to the character clause in the rules.

I even vote for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds of the steroid era, votes that become more iron-clad now that Bud Selig, who oversaw the whole mess, is headed to Cooperstown. But Nazi souvenirs? Nah.

On the subject of offensive things, Chief Wahoo, the smiling Indians logo, will survive at least through next season, but will be seen less and apparently is being phased out. I really don't understand why anything offensive to anyone has to be involved in sports.

Let's make a deal?

The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski says Danny Ainge is looking to deal for a big name to take the Celtics to the next level. He has the picks to do it but so far, nothing. The problem is two-fold: You have to match money to make an NBA deal, and there just isn't much out there that can be had.

"(Al) Horford was a big play and a great get in free agency," Wojnarowski said on his podcast. "They can still keep their eye on Gordon Hayward from Utah, who's an unrestricted free agent this summer, who played for Brad Stevens at Butler. I think there's still strong hope in Utah that he'll want to stay there.

"Boston's interesting in that (they have) some good young players, they have draft picks they can put in deals and they have some veterans that hold some interest in places. I do wonder sometimes if Boston might overvalue some of the players they have compared to what the rest of the league sees in them. I think Marcus Smart might be starting to fall into that category. His name's been in some talks previously, and they've been pretty careful about who they'd give him up for."

College hijinks

In the bizarro world of college football with the bowl season underway, two stories struck me in the past week.

First, we found out Wake Forest radio color man Tommy Elrod was sending secrets to the opposition (no evidence the Russians were involved in this one), with Louisville, Virginia Tech and Army getting plays from him. Louisville and V-Tech were hit with $25,000 fines by the ACC on Saturday. He has been fired, but did he help Boston College get that bowl-eligibility win?

Then, later in the week, the Minnesota football players not suspended - as their 10 teammates were, during a sexual assault investigation - walked out and were boycotting their Dec. 27 Holiday Bowl game against Washington State. They said their teammates haven't been given due process.

Meanwhile, Northern Illinois stayed loose as a potential replacement.

The situation was resolved and the game will go on with the Gophers in it.

"After many, many hours of discussion within our team and after speaking with President (Eric) Kaler, it became clear that our original request of having 10 suspensions overturned was not going to happen," said Drew Wolitarsky, a senior wide receiver, reading from a prepared statement.

This is tough

We talked the other day about LeBron James and his pals disappointing the paying fans in Memphis by not playing. Gregg Popovich turned this into an art form in San Antonio, which got us thinking about endurance.

The NBA record for consecutive games played? A.C. Green, 1,192. You read that right, 1,192. He broke Randy Smith's record of 906. Andre Miller had a 632 and Bruce Bowen 500, and both of those were ended by one-game suspensions. Miller added another 239 later.

Single digits gone

The Yankees will retire Derek Jeter's No. 2 on Mother's Day, meaning the team will be officially out of single digit numbers. A refresher: 1, Billy Martin; 3, Babe Ruth; 4,Lou Gehrig; 5, Joe DiMaggio; 6, Joe Torre; 7, Mickey Mantle; 8, Yogi Berra/Bill Dickey; 9, Roger Maris.

Cubs manager Joe Maddon was asked at the meetings what he thought of LeBron in a Cubs uniform, which he did recently after losing a bet to Dywane Wade.

"He looked great. He can play center field for us any time," Maddon said.

But Thursday, Aroldis Chapman, speaking through an interpreter, said he wasn't pleased with the way Maddon handled him in the postseason.

"I think he was wrong in the way he used me," said Chapman, who has re-signed with the Yankees. "He abused me a bit on how much he made me pitch, and sometimes he made me pitch when I didn't need to pitch."

How does the song go? "You just keep on using me . until you use me up."

Finally, David Pastrnak, the Bruins' only pure scorer, has had minor elbow surgery, the same operation that cost David Backes five games earlier this season. He'll miss at least two game. Not what this team needs at an already important time.

Mike Shalin covers Boston pro sports for the New Hampshire Union Leader and Sunday News. His email address is shalinmike@yahoo.com.


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