By Jai Bednall of news.com.au
In many ways Julian Edelman is an unlikely NFL star.
At just 178cm, he was always fighting the odds from a physical standpoint. Despite setting records as a quarterback at Kent State University, he wasn't considered tall enough to play the position in the pros - and wasn't selected until pick 232 in the 2009 draft as a wide receiver.
So you can almost forgive his college English teacher for doubting the now 31-year-old - who has won two Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and become Tom Brady's most trusted target - when he declared he was "going to the league" as a teenager.
The odds of Edelman signing an eight-figure contact, dating a supermodel and taking one of the greatest catches in NFL history weren't exactly sky high.
Despite that, the teacher in question has regretted making what they now describe as a "flippant" and "uneducated" comment and went to the unique length of writing to Edelman to apologise.
"I'm not sure you'll remember me; I was your teacher for your English 100 class at CSM (the College of San Mateo, where Edelman played before transferring to Kent State) in the spring of 2006. I've been wanting to write to you for, oh, what seems like a thousand years, to apologise to you for a flippant comment I made to you that semester. You may not even remember it, but I've felt bad about it for years," the teacher wrote.
"You had made some comment about 'going to the league,' and I said something about setting realistic goals, about how few people successfully enter the ranks of the professional athlete, blah, blah, blah. I don't think it fazed you, frankly, but whenever I think back on it, I feel terrible, not because you proved me wrong, but because I stupidly voiced an uneducated opinion that implied I had distain for your passion for the game.
"I think it was early in the semester, before I knew you, but how could I ever have doubted your tenacity and grit is beyond me! Again, I doubt you've even thought about it twice, but even so, I am sorry for wedging my foot so firmly in my mouth that day."
Edelman shared the letter on Twitter with the comment "set your goals high. do whatever it takes to achieve them". He certainly has.