IF Tom Brady indeed winds up leaving New England to end his playing career, well ... let’s just say it won’t be for a lack of Julian Edelman trying to keep him in New England.

You probably saw the “he’s coming back” comment from Edelman at that Syracuse basketball game. The sight of Edelman, Brady and Jimmy Fallon at a Syracuse basketball game was a strange one — and it became real news by reading Edelman’s lips saying, “He’s coming back.”

Friday night, before the Celtics lost to the Jazz at TD Garden, Edelman visited the Celtics’ locker room and left shirts hanging in each stall.

“STAY!” the shirts screamed.

“TOM 2020: A Quarterback You Can Trust.”

This is an actual campaign. Heck, there are coffee mugs.

You get the feeling the gutsy slot receiver wants his QB to stay? That he doesn’t want Jarrett Stidham or Jimmy Garoppolo throwing him the ball in 2020?

But we still have NO IDEA what’s going to happen. We don’t know if Bill Belichick wants Brady or if Brady wants Bill Belichick. It’s pretty clear (we think) the owner wants the QB to stay. But March 18 is 10 days away. Two days before that teams can start talking to free agents-to-be.

It IS fairly clear Brady will at least listen. After that, who knows? Patriots? Niners? Raiders? Titans?

Readers, feel free to weigh in and we’ll publish your thoughts this week. You want him back? You ready to move on?

Tennessee coach Mike Vrabel, appearing on the NFL Network, downplayed the speculation of Brady going to Nashville, noting the two are close and chat on FaceTime. That’s it. For now?

“Well, it would be no different than a conversation you would have with two of your girlfriends on a weekend,” Vrabel said. “My relationship goes back to 2001 with Tom Brady — training camp at what was Bryant College, and at Parente’s (restaurant) in Smithfield. We’d go to practice and a bunch of us would go out to the bar at Parente’s after practice, and that’s where a lot of those friendships were made.”

He continued, saying, “Those friendships aren’t going to stop or not continue to grow and develop now that I’m a head coach and he’s a quarterback with an expiring contract. Those (friendships) are going to continue on well after we’re done playing, with his family, with my family and having the ability to meet Jules and all those players. There’s a special bond that goes on in the locker room, and that’s not going to stop. The same way that Larry Izzo or Tedy Bruschi or Willie McGinest or Wes Welker and Matt Cassel and I will have a relationship.”

OK. We get the coach of the Tennessee Titans can’t comment on someone else’s player. They frown on that at the league office.

Going viral

As talk continues about the possibility of games being played with no fans in attendance, LeBron James weighed in after Friday night’s win over the Bucks in LA.

“Play games without the fans? No, that’s impossible. I ain’t playing,” James said. “That’s who I play for. I play for my teammates, I play for the fans, that’s what it’s all about. If I show up to an arena and there are no fans in there, I ain’t playing. They can do what they want to do.”

It isn’t likely to come to that, but this virus is threatening so many things we take for granted in this country.

A Saturday report has the NHL closing locker rooms to media because of the virus.

But don’t worry about it. The president says it will “disappear” in April, when it gets “warmer.” (insert your favorite April snowstorm story here).

MVP matchup

While the general consensus has Giannis Antetokounmpo repeating as the NBA’s MVP, James again let the world know he’s still in the picture with his performance against the Bucks and The Greek Freak.

“At the end of the day, he’s gonna get his shots up, he’s gonna get his teammates involved. He’s LeBron James, what can you say?” Antetokounmpo said after James scored 37 points and added eight rebounds and seven assists — with the Freak apparently avoiding a serious knee injury in a scary fall.

While the Celtics’ loss earlier in the evening was a yawner, this was pure entertainment very much worth staying up for.

The win officially ended the Lakers’ six-year playoff drought and here are some interesting numbers coming out of that game: the Lakers are 20-0 when LeBron scores 30 points and LA is 41-0 when leading after three quarters.

Heard this before

Back (a whole year ago) when Nolan Arenado signed his megadeal with the Rockies, the third baseman said, “It’s such a great place. “I really enjoy the fact there’s a comfortability here. You know the coaches. You know the players. Some of my best friends are on this team.”

Less than a year later, he wanted out.

Friday, Christian Yelich agreed to what appears to be a team-friendly nine-year/$215 million contract with the Brewers. No opt-out, only a no-trade clause.

Naturally, things were all warm and fuzzy in UeckerLand.

“I could not be happier that I am a Milwaukee Brewer for the next decade,” Yelich said. “I really enjoy this city and it’s somewhere that I’m very passionate about ... I am excited to be staying in Milwaukee and playing the game that I love for this amazing city.”

Sound familiar?

Bombs away

From the “Why can’t we get guys like this department,” Aron Baynes hit NINE 3-pointers and set a record for Australian players in the NBA with 37 points Friday night. Oh, and he grabbed 16 rebounds in a Phoenix win over Portland. “It can be funny in the NBA like that,” Baynes said. “Night to night it can be completely different.” …

The Yankees’ Aaron Judge could be out as long as four months because of a rib stress fracture that could lead to surgery. Column pal Joe Casale says the Yankees shouldn’t commit long term to the big right fielder and instead should “give Mookie Betts a blank check this offseason.” …

Woke up to news that Kenny Atkinson, a quality coach who never really had Kyrie Irving this season and would be getting Kevin Durant next, was out as the Nets coach. It was one of those “mutually parted ways” things but this one stinks and there has to be more to it. The Nets’ improbable rally in Boston earlier this week was the latest example of a team that always plays hard for its coach. And Brooklyn was in a playoff position at the time of his dismissal. …

Pete Alonso‘s dog is named Brody. He said his fiancée is from Boston and “if you were born in Boston and you have a dog there’s an 80 percent chance the dog’s name is Brady. We decided to be different and change it to Brody.” The Mets GM is Brodie Van Wagenen but he arrived after Alonso got the dog. …

More Edelman: he’s studying for his Bar Mitzvah (his dad is Jewish). “I’ll finally be a man,” he says.

Yankee radio voice John Sterling moonlighted this week, hosting his favorite Frank Sinatra songs on XM Radio. Meanwhile, his partner, Suzyn Waldman, is hosting a town hall-type gathering in Clearwater, Fla., on Monday. It’s a Yankees-Red Sox rivalry thing, with Wade Boggs, Bucky Dent, Mickey Rivers, Luis Tiant, Bernie Carbo, and Bill Lee and Graig Nettles, who fought in 1976 after Lou Piniella crashed into Carlton Fisk at home plate. “We may see them go at it,’’ Gossage said. “That would be exciting.’’ …

Speaking of Gossage, the Hall of Famer hates today’s game, saying, “I don’t even watch the game anymore. It breaks my heart that I can’t sit down and watch nine innings of baseball because it’s not the game I was brought up playing and respecting and loving. The strategy of the game — where do we start talking about the differences? It’s all become so computerized.’’ …

From the Boston Globe’s Matt Porter: “Bruce Cassidy, to Noel Acciari, outside the Bruins’ room: ‘Twenty-goal man! I did not see that coming.’ Then asks about Acciari’s wife, who is due in July.” …

ESPN miking up players for spring training games is pure television gold. …

While the Red Sox look to rebuild their farm system, a bit of an apology goes out: I said the new Prospect Handbook has the Sox as the ninth-worst system in baseball, but the book was published before the trade with the Dodgers – and Jeter Downs and Connor Wong were rated as the 6th- and 15th-best prospects in the LA system. And the Dodgers were rated No. 3 in the game. …

The Rays splitting their season between Tampa Bay and Montreal seems to be gathering steam. Can we put a stop to it now? …

It’s only spring training, but Gerrit Cole yielded back-to-back homers to Travis Demeritte and the slim-downed Miguel Cabrera in the first AND second innings in Lakeland the other day. Max Goldstein (@MaxSportsStudio) notes 652 batters have faced Cole in his career and only one – Dexter Fowler – has ever homered twice against the righty (regular and postseason). …

Managers are clearly not big fans of the three-batter minimum for a pitcher starting this season. Hall of Famer Jayson Stark, in a piece for The Athletic, quoted skippers noting this takes something away from managing. Said Bud Black of the Rockies: “A team should be able to do what they want to do with their players.” …

With Tony Romo agreeing to that crazy 10-year/$180 million deal with CBS, there’s talk ESPN is talking “trade” with NBC for Al Michaels. They want to pair him with Peyton Manning on Monday nights. …

In a mournful note, Ed Ingles, one of the greats in New York sports radio, passed away this week. A true gem as both a professional and a human being! …

Scary thought: Johnny Boychuk needed 90 (yes, 9-0) stitches to close a skate cut that got his eyelid but not the eye this week. …

The Sox refused to include Andrew Benintendi in the Chris Sale deal. Instead it was Yoan Moncada, who this week signed a big extension with the White Sox. Regrets for Boston? Two things: let’s see if Benintendi, a 2018 hero, bounces back … and the Red Sox have already won a title with Sale. …

Does winning attract? The Bruins’ NESN ratings are up 49 percent this season. …

Finally, Paul Stanley finished this week’s KISS concert at LA’s Staples Center wearing a Kobe Bryant No.24 jersey – as the tributes continue.

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