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Patriots WR Julian Edelman named Daytona 500 honorary starter

Julian Edelman, Patriots

New England Patriots wide receiver and Super Bowl 53 MVP Julian Edelman has been named the honorary starter for the Daytona 500 this Sunday, per A.J. Perez of USA TODAY Sports.

“Julian Edelman is an incredible addition to the list of pre-race dignitaries for the DAYTONA 500,” Daytona International Speedway President Chip Wile said in a statement. “We’re honored to have such a superb athlete, who recently won on NFL’s biggest stage and was the Super Bowl MVP, wave the green flag for NASCAR’s premier event.”

Edelman will not be the only NFL player involved, as Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt will serve as the grand marshal of the event.

In the Patriots’ 13-3 Super Bowl victory over the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3, Edelman hauled in 10 receptions for 141 yards, capping off an outstanding postseason in which he caught 26 passes for 388 yards.

On the season overall, Edelman snared 74 balls for 850 yards and six touchdowns in 12 games. He was suspended for the first four games of the 2018-19 campaign as a result of violating the league’s drug policy.

The 32-year-old, who played his collegiate football at Kent State University, was originally selected by New England in the seventh round (232nd pick overall) of the 2009 NFL Draft.

He had a very limited role within the Pats’ offense over his first four years in the league, but in 2013, Edelman broke out, registering 105 catches for 1,056 yards and six scores and helping the Patriots win the Super Bowl.

Since then, Edelman has been a regular in New England’s passing game.

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