Though Julian Edelman looked ready to come back for a 12th season in 2021 after being limited to only six games in 2020 due to a knee injury, the Patriots icon decided to step away only a few weeks before the Draft.

Back in the day, Edelman was one of the best wide receivers in the NFL. He won four Super Bowl rings and recorded 620 receptions for 6,822 yards and 36 touchdowns in 11 seasons.

However, when he noticed his level was not even close to the player he once was, Edelman made up his mind. In an appearance on The Ryen Russillo Podcast, he explained his decision.

Julian Edelman explains why he retired

“Atrocious. That’s honestly why I retired,” Edelman said about watching himself on film, via NBC Sports Boston. “When you start looking old — it’s not even just the games, it’s the practices, the body language. I mean, I wanted to throw up. That’s why I had to retire.

“When you’re a younger player — I remember you play a couple guys and they’re in their absolute prime when you’re still trying to figure things out. And then you figure things out and it’s like four or five years later, and that guy that you still are battling who was a badass dude has diminished — that’s blood in the water. I’m going to embarrass him every time. I’m going to try to light him up, because I remember how hard it was and how he used to embarrass me. The blood was in the water. Guys were going to come after me. I had to get out.”