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Patriots' Julian Edelman, Texans' J.J. Watt honored at Daytona 500

By
Connor Grott
Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman poses with the Harley J Earle Trophy prior to the 2019 Daytona 500. Edelman waved the green flag to start the race Sunday in Daytona, Florida. Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI
Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman poses with the Harley J Earle Trophy prior to the 2019 Daytona 500. Edelman waved the green flag to start the race Sunday in Daytona, Florida. Photo by Edwin Locke/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 17 (UPI) -- New England Patriots receiver Julian Edelman and Houston Texans defensive star J.J. Watt were honored Sunday at the 61st running of the Daytona 500.

Edelman, who recently trimmed his beard on The Ellen DeGeneres Show, was named the honorary starter for the race and waved the green flag to signal the beginning of the Daytona 500.

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The Patriots receiver is coming off his third Super Bowl title after defeating the Los Angeles Rams on Feb. 3. Edelman was named Super Bowl MVP in New England's victory. He had 10 catches for 141 yards in the championship game.

Many former NFL athletes served as the honorary starter in previous Daytona 500 events, including Terry Bradshaw, LaDainian Tomlinson and Troy Aikman, among others. Last year, actress Charlize Theron waved the green flag.

Watt joined Edelman at the 2019 NASCAR Cup Series' opening event of the season and was the grand marshal. He delivered the famous call for the drivers to start their engines.

Watt is a three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He had 61 total tackles, 16.0 sacks, seven forced fumbles and four passes defensed last season.

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