“I was trying to sell it,” Edelman admitted afterward (via NESN). “Maybe they didn’t see it. Then three flags were literally in my face.”
It wasn’t the worst idea, and heaven knows that NFL players seek a competitive edge by faking injuries fairly often, usually to work the clock to their advantage. Edelman’s ploy backfired. His penalty nullified a TD pass to Benjamin Watson, and he had to head to the locker room to be evaluated for a head injury.
“That sell didn’t work,” he added, “and it got me taken out for a quarter.”
When he returned in the fourth quarter, he caught a 30-yard pass from Brady and, after Rex Burkhead’s touchdown, he caught a two-point conversion pass from Brady. It may end up costing him money. In a similar situation in 2012, the NFL fined the Steelers and Emmanuel Sanders for the wide receiver faking a leg injury that NBC’s announcers pointed out.
“I’m not getting into it,” Edelman explained, “but there was a lot to the situation. … Those are tough plays. It’s a bang-bang play. It’s a slant flat. They were in man coverage and you’re trying to set up your guy. Then all the sudden you come off and break off of it and you have that guy right up in your face. You try to protect yourself, and then I saw three flags. Those are tough plays.”
The NFL Rulebook (Supplemental Note to Rule 4, Section 5, Article 4) states: “The Competition Committee deprecates feigning injuries, with subsequent withdrawal, to obtain a timeout without penalty. Coaches are urged to cooperate in discouraging this practice.”
Edelman wasn’t going for a timeout and at least one of his teammates saw the humor in the situation, calling Edelman “Lazarus,” after the biblical figure who rose from the dead.
“My dad texted me after the game and said, ‘Tell Lazarus, good job,’ ” Matthew Slater joked, adding, “It’s kind of funny the way he laid out there for dead, but I’m glad he’s okay. And he came back and gave us a big boost with his play immediately coming into the game, making a big catch. His toughness, his energy, I’m glad he’s okay, like I said. Huge impact from him.”
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