The NFL shortened its preseason to just three games beginning this year, so for New England Patriots players on the roster bubble, Thursday night's matchup against the Philadelphia Eagles might be the last best chance to impress Bill Belichick and the coaching staff.
One former Patriots star who knows the importance of the preseason is Julian Edelman. Edelman was a seventh-round draft pick and far from a lock to make the roster early in his career.
Playing well and showing his versatility in the preseason helped Edelman make the team.
In fact, Edelman's first ever preseason game was came against the Eagles in 2009, and he returned a punt for a touchdown in the second quarter. It led to Belichick's famous "Wally Pipp" scene with Pats wideout Wes Welker.
On Thursday, a few hours before kickoff against the Eagles, Edelman tweeted an important message for Patriots players who are fighting for a roster spot.
The hard work in the preseason paid off for Edelman, who went on to win three Super Bowl titles (including Super Bowl LIII MVP) in 10 seasons with the Patriots.
The Patriots and Eagles had two joint practices together earlier this week, so we should expect a hard-fought game Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field.
The last preseason game for the Patriots is next week against the New York Giants.