FOXBORO -- It's the nature of the gig. Guys get hurt.
When Julian Edelman went down with a season-ending knee injury on Friday night, the Patriots lost one of their most important players. And while Edelman's teammates feel for their friend, while they hope he'll make a speedy recovery, they know they have to move forward without him. It's just the nature of the gig.
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Here's how some of Edelman's teammates reacted when asked about Edelman's absence on Monday . . .
"Jules did a lot of stuff for this team, and he's been productive for a long time. He's a great player. But guys are going to have to step up. They're going to be asked to do different things. We're going to work on it during practice. It's the next man up mentality. There's a lot of guys on our offense with a lot of talent in that locker room. Guys will step up and have to make some plays . . .
"I'm just going to continue to do what I've been doing. Whatever I'm asked to do, I'm going to go out to do it to the best of my ability, take advantage of all the opportunities that I get and try to make some plays to help this team win."
“I’m going to miss him every day, man. He’ll be around. He’s a leader on this team. We’re going to miss him on the field. Obviously, he’s bummed, but he’s a strong kid. He’s one of the strongest people I know. So, he’ll be better for it.”
“I’m praying for him. Just praying that he heals as fast as possible. Continue to encourage him, to have great thoughts. That’s all you can say right now. It’s very unfortunate. A guy like that, a warrior, who works so hard. We’ll definitely miss him for now, but at the same time, we know we have to get ready and keep the wheels turning, do what we have to do to make up for that.”
The reality is that all three of Edelman's fellow receivers -- as well as Malcolm Mitchell, when healthy -- will have to team up with New England's backs and tight ends to help make up for the production lost when Edelman went down.
Here's a look at how the team may try to make up for Edelman's absence since it won't be a one-man job.