Patriots

Curran: Edelman facing another daunting challenge in a career full of them

Curran: Edelman facing another daunting challenge in a career full of them

The way Julian Edelman’s 2016 season ended – with a Super Bowl victory and a catch for the ages that helped secure it – belied the real struggle the wide receiver had in getting ready for 2016.

There were times of crisis in the spring and summer of 2016 when the foot he broke halfway through the 2015 season - and needed two surgeries to repair - left him at wit’s end. He had a sense of his football mortality at that time and, as he told me this summer for his memoir “Relentless,” which is due out in October, Edelman went to great lengths to get some mental peace.

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Now, with a torn ACL, a lost season and months of rehab ahead of him, Edelman finds himself back in a spot where he’ll have to summon even more resolve to get back to being what he’s been since 2013: the Patriots most reliable and potent offensive weapon.

It’s got to be daunting for Edelman but he at least has the security provided by the two-year, $11 million extension he signed over the summer. That deal, which expires after the 2019 season, includes $7M guaranteed.

That doesn’t mean Edelman’s future with the team is necessarily secure. He will be 32 entering the 2018 season and his rehab will take months once surgery is performed. It’s far too early to set timetables, but given the commitment to training and conditioning Edelman’s shown in the past – he’s broken both feet and had a total of four surgeries on them but has still been one of the NFL’s most productive receivers in the past four seasons – it’s not unrealistic to foresee him being able to begin 2018.

Edelman’s overcome quite a bit to get where he’s gotten. He’s stared over the ledge a few times. A converted college quarterback (you may have heard), he was a bit player for the team until 2013 when he exploded for 105 catches and 1,056 yards. And he did that while playing on a one-year deal for the veteran’s minimum.

He’s used to being counted out. One of the titles he proposed for his book was: “Bet Against Me.” Since he was growing up in Redwood City, California, where he was a 4-foot-11, 95-pound freshman running back at Woodside High, Edelman’s heard doubts. He told me over and over again this summer that doubts are his “fuel.”

There will be doubts now. In the coming weeks, Edelman may feel them creep in as well. It would be natural. But his personal history indicates the doubts won’t last. He’s been counted out before and proven plenty of people wrong.

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

Gronkowski advises Hayward to treat rehab like anything else -- dominate

FOXBORO -- Rob Gronkowski's never suffered a break like the one Gordon Hayward did on Tuesday night, but he has been through enough to know what lies ahead as the Celtics forward stares at a lengthy recovery period.

"I saw it. I mean, I wish him nothing but wellness," Gronkowski said on Wednesday. "Hopefully he heals ASAP. You never want to see that with a player in any sport. When my friend showed me that last night, you get that feeling in your body, like, your heart drops. I wish him well.

"I can't wait to see him back. I know he's going to bounce back. Being here in Boston, he's going to be a hard worker it feels like. I can't wait to see him back."

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Multiple back surgeries, a plate in his arm, a surgically-repaired ACL . . . Gronkowski has put in his share of rehabilitation work. Asked if he'd give Hayward any advice as he embarks on his road back to normalcy, Gronkowski's message was simple.

"Just go into rehab just like you go into anything else. Dominate it," Gronkowski said. "Come back when you feel ready. Come back when you're 100 percent . . . He wouldn't be where he is now if he wasn't a hard worker. I don't know the guy. Never met him. But it's not something you want to see as an athlete happen to anyone else."

Gronkowski acknowledged that in his experience, one of the biggest hurdles following an injury like that is the mental one. You quickly go from being a powerful athlete to a patient in need of help with even the smallest of tasks. 

"There is a big mental challenge, definitely, with that," Gronkowski explained. "It's not just not being able to be with your teammates and all that. It's outside of football, too. Because it takes away your whole life, going out like that . . . You can't do anything. You can't walk. You gotta have people do [things for you]. You get really frustrated. You just want the people around you to help you out and keep you in the best mindset throughout the whole process."

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

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Patriots-Falcons practice report: Gilmore, Rowe absent; Hogan added

FOXBORO -- Chris Hogan only had one catch for 19 yards against the Jets. He very nearly had a second grab in the second quarter, but Tom Brady's throw was off the mark, and Hogan's ribs were exposed for rookie safety Marcus Maye to hammer. The pass fell incomplete and Hogan crumpled to the turf. 

He didn't leave the game, but Hogan did end up on Wednesday's injury report as a limited participant in practice due to a ribs injury. He was one of three players added to this week's injury report. Linebacker Elandon Roberts has an ankle injury and did not participate in Wednesday's workout. Guard Shaq Mason has a shoulder issue and was limited. 

Eric Rowe and Stephon Gilmore, neither of whom were spotted at the start of the session, did not participate.

Here's Wednesday's full practice participation/injury report for Sunday's Patriots-Falcons game:

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
CB Stephon Gilmore (concussion/ankle)
LB Harvey Langi (back)
LB Elandon Roberts (ankle)
CB Eric Rowe (groin)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
RB Rex Burkhead (ribs)
WR Chris Hogan (ribs)
G Shaq Mason (shoulder)

ATLANTA FALCONS

DID NOT PARTICIPATE
K Matt Bryant (back)

LIMITED PARTICIPATION
OLB Vic Beasley Jr. (hamstring)
LB Jermaine Grace (hamstring)
LB Deion Jones (quadricep)
DE Takk McKinley (shoulder)
LB Duke Riley (knee)
WR Mohamed Sanu (hamstring)
DL Courtney Upshaw (ankle/knee)