If Julian Edelman was looking for a good reference before heading out into the open market as a free agent, he got it from Tom Brady on Monday morning.
"He had an incredible season," Brady told WEEI's Dennis and Callahan Show. "No one could have ever predicted what he could accomplish for our team. He was one guy who was just so consistent and dependable for us.
"I'm just proud of him because of his mental toughness, and his maturity, and his work ethic. He spent a lot of time watching over the last four years. To finally get an opportunity where he could be an every-down player, and the way he contributed to our team, especially in a game like yesterday where he makes so many big plays for us, was great to see."
Though Brady is the face of the franchise, he has long maintained that he has nothing to do with personnel decisions for the Patriots. (Were that the case, Wes Welker would likely still be his teammate.)
Brady explained that there are a lot of elements that go into those kinds of free agency decisions, and that coach Bill Belichick always has the final say.
"Free agency and stuff, all that, that takes time to develop, and I know how difficult it is for our team to make decisions, and we've had to make a lot of those decisions over the years," Brady said. "All those things will sort themselves out. Coach Belichick is the one who makes those tough decisions."
Over Edelman's five-year career, he's developed a close relationship with Brady. The two have worked out together in the offseason and Edelman has spoken of how he's spent a significant amount of time at TB12 Sports Therapy Center in Foxboro since it opened late last year.
"I love him," Brady said. "He's one of my best pals. I spend a lot of time with him, and I'm just proud of him for everything that he's accomplished. He deserves the best."