Julian Edelman returns to Patriots

Updated: March 17, 2014, 11:51 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

Julian Edelman agreed to return to the New England Patriots on Saturday after testing the open market.

Edelman, who enjoyed a breakthrough 2013 season as New England's top receiver, took to Twitter to announce the deal.

It marked the second straight offseason that Edelman was an unrestricted free agent, although this time around he had more leverage following a 105-catch season that included 1,056 receiving yards and six touchdowns.

Edelman had re-signed with the Patriots last offseason, taking a one-year deal worth a shade over $1 million if he reached all incentives (which he did). Only the Patriots and New York Giants had pursued him last year, in part because of his injury history.

Edelman, who turns 28 on May 22, noted that the big difference for him in 2013 was being able to stay on the field.

"The main thing about this year was that I had four years under my belt and 'could I stay healthy?' I haven't been able to stay healthy for a whole year," Edelman told ESPN Radio's "SVP and Russillo" program in the week leading up to the Super Bowl. "I was able to stay healthy and then guys get hurt and you're given an opportunity."

Edelman also is a dynamic punt returner, as he averaged 10.7 yards per return in 2013.

ESPNBoston.com's Mike Reiss contributed to this report.

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