New England Patriot Julian Edelman plays with arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time, but there’s another gunslinger out there who has got the wide receiver’s attention: 13-year-old Dejah Rondeau.
Rondeau, who plays quarterback for the the Exeter Seahawks football program in New Hampshire, landed on Edelmen’s radar after she hit the headlines for being a talented football player who was being bullied because she’s a girl.
“Some people don’t want to accept a female quarterback. She’ll have to put in 110 percent when others are putting in 50,” her mother, Nichole Brock, told Seacoastonline. “But Dejah becoming the quarterback is the best thing that could happen to her. She’s worked really hard at it.”
She began playing football at 8 years old, and in her first game as a quarterback, she threw four touchdowns and ran for another.
With the performance, however, came doubters and a portion of the community who took to bullying her. They questioned her gender and sexual orientation. But, Rondeau pressed on, throwing lasers on the field and focusing on her craft.
After hearing the story, Edelman and the Patriots reached out.
“For a girl like her to go out and love the game that I love, the same way that I love it, we wanted to help and support her,” he told ESPN’s “NFL Countdown,” which aired the meeting on its Sunday show.
They first met in January, right before the Patriots were to play in the Super Bowl. So, Edelman, who went on to be the game’s MVP, presented her with two tickets to the contest.
Rondeau had the time of her life, but the bullying picked right back up when she returned.
More recently, the Patriots invited her to be a VIP at one of their training camp sessions, where Edelman pulled her off the sidelines and told her to warm up her arm so he and a teammate could run some routes.
It was great experience for her development as a quarterback, but it was the words he left her with that made the biggest impact.
“You’re a true inspiration,” he said. “Keep playing what you love and keep proving people wrong. The fact that it’s a little tough, and you’re going out there and you’re saying ‘screw it,’ that fires me up.”
Here’s to more quarterbacks “throwing like a girl.”
The full clip from ESPN: