Wide receiver Wes Welker, the 2009 NFL leader in catches, was injured Sunday in his New England Patriots’ final regular season game, and will be replaced next Sunday by rookie Julian Edelman. Kupel’s, the legendary Boston-area Jewish bakery, has already named a bagel sandwich after Edelman. Even Bill Simmons, the massively popular sportswriter, has alluded to Edelman’s presumably Semitic origins: “‘Julian Edelman’ might be the least likely name of a football player this decade. He sounds like he should be an acoustic singer, or an indie director, or a dentist, or the son of a famous rock star, or a Beverly Hills doctor who does breast implants … .”
Except Edelman is none of these things: instead, he is a Gentile wide receiver for the New England Patriots. Kaplan’s Korner—a blog devoted to Jews in sports and, relatedly, maybe the best blog ever—called the Pats’ media office, which said that Edelman “has Jewish ancestry but was raised as a Christian.”
Now, Patriots owner Robert Kraft is Jewish, and generously so; the Hillel at his (and my) alma mater, Columbia, is named after him. But Jewish NFL owners are about as rare as Jewish dentists. A Jewish slot receiver—that would have been something.
Marc Tracy is a staff writer at The New Republic, and was previously a staff writer at Tablet. He tweets @marcatracy.