National Football League
Julian Edelman reveals backstage tension between Kraft, Belichick at Brady roast
National Football League

Julian Edelman reveals backstage tension between Kraft, Belichick at Brady roast

Updated May. 30, 2024 3:52 p.m. ET

This week's Roast of Tom Brady served as an unofficial reunion for New England Patriots greats from their two-decade run that culminated in six Super Bowl titles.

Like with many reunions, though, there were some uncomfortable moments. That was apparently the case when Bill Belichick and Robert Kraft were in the green room together ahead of Sunday's roast, Julian Edelman shared on his podcast "Games with Names."

The Tom Brady roast special is 'why football is great' | The Herd

"Pre-show, we’re in the green room. Randy [Moss], Drew [Bledsoe], me, [Rob Gronkowski], we were just chilling in there," Edelman said, setting the scene. "Bill was opening up, he’s having fun, he’s talking war stories, talking rookies. Doing s--- we know what Bill’s about, but it was like amplified, because he’s excited to see guys because he doesn’t have a job anymore."


The tone of the room changed, however, when Kraft walked in.

"The tension in that room, though, could cut f---ing glass," Edelman said. "It was so awkward. … I was just like, 'Oh s---, this could be some fireworks.' I just walked away."

Bledsoe, who was a guest on Edelman's podcast, remarked that it was "some crazy s---" and said it was "very, very real." However, it didn't seem that the tension turned into any heated moments.

"They did break it down and got together for 10 minutes at least, the two of them," Bledsoe said of the conversation Belichick and Kraft had. 

Some of that awkwardness between the Patriots owner and the former Patriots coach seemed to spill onto the dais during Sunday's event. Comedian Kevin Hart, who served as roastmaster, called on Kraft and Belichick to take a shot together after Kraft shared a few jokes from the audience. 

Kraft made his way to the stage and Belichick eventually joined him at the microphone.

"I want to say this is the greatest coach in the history of the game that did what no one else has done," Kraft told the audience. "And having Tom Brady and him was the greatest honor the good Lord gave me."

Belichick didn't say anything, causing a bit of an awkward moment.

It's believed that Sunday's roast was the first time that Belichick and Kraft have spent time together after mutually parting ways in January following a 24-year working relationship. Since then, multiple reports have detailed how icy the relationship between the two had become near the end. 

Kraft might have also played a hand in Belichick's inability to land another head-coaching job this offseason. ESPN reported in April that, following Belichick's interview with the Atlanta Falcons, Kraft told owner Arthur Blank that his former head coach couldn't be trusted.

Edelman and Bledsoe said they weren't sure if Belichick and Kraft were going to be at the event. They seemed pretty happy that both showed up, though, with Bledsoe saying that Belichick's set was "pretty funny in his awkward way."

On Thursday's episode of "The Herd with Colin Cowherd", Edelman talked more about the historic night and said "it's all love" between Belichick and his former players. He even agreed with Cowherd that his former coach was a good sport, and the event served as a much-needed Patriots' therapy session. 

"Fully. I mean, I looked right at Bill when I said my joke to him," Edelman said while laughing. "I thought it was a great night for him, and probably meant a lot for Brady to see him there."

In preparation for his performance, Edelman revealed he treated it like an upcoming game — with help from comedian Jeff Ross.

Ross, an experienced roaster, invited Edelman to do a set at The Comedy Store after realizing how nervous he was — which Edelman happily accepted — seeing it as a sort of warmup game.

"We were in full roast-mode for two weeks," Edelman said. "It was very nerve-racking going to The Comedy Store … I did about 12 minutes … It was a good rep to have because after that, going into the roast, you know, I felt a lot more confident for the show."


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