FOXBORO -- When the Patriots open training camp Thursday, Julian Edelman is expected to take the field with the rest of his teammates, no doubt wearing that familiar yellow Kent State Golden Flashes jersey under Patriot colors, just as he has since day one with the organization. That’s part of Edelman’s routine, just like spending extra time after practices with Tom Brady. One assumes it will look like this every day this summer, right up until a week before the season opener. That’s when Edelman’s 4-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy kicks in, meaning the 32-year old wideout must go cold turkey, banned from the stadium and all team activities.
Wednesday, for the first time since the suspension was announced, we had the opportunity to speak with Bill Belichick about the news. It was brief.
“Julian is a very hard-working player,” said Belichick. “We’re all disappointed. It is what it is. He’s moved on. We’ve moved on.”
Indeed, Edelman has, deciding not to follow in Tom Brady’s footsteps by suing the league, instead accepting his penalty after his appeal was denied. Those around the former seventh-round pick say he wants to focus his energy and attention on football, especially seeing the toll it took on his buddy Brady when he went after the NFL for his 2016 Deflategate suspension.
In that summer, there was a fair amount of debate about how Belichick used practices and the preseason to get Brady as many reps as possible while trying to balance that with the the task of getting Jimmy Garoppolo ready to start the season. Now Belichick and his coaching staff will have to work that balancing act again with Edelman.
“Just take what we have now and do the best we can with it,” he said. “He’s been here the last couple of days. He’s got a good attitude, a good work ethic. He’ll make the most of the opportunities that he has.”
Edelman has been a regular participant in the team’s offseason program as he continues to work his way back into form following the ACL tear he suffered during the 2017 preseason. That cost him the entire season. That streak will continue to start 2018 with the pint-sized slot wizard to miss games against Houston, at Jacksonville, at Detroit and finally versus Miami. It also will take a chunk out of Edelman’s future earnings. He will cough up $470,588.20 in base salary.