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Julian Edelman will need a better defense than “I don’t know what happened”

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There are still many questions to be answered about Julian Edelman's four-game suspension, including what the substance was that he failed for.

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman reportedly is appealing his four-game suspension for violating the league’s PED policy. His statement from Friday doesn’t do much to create optimism that he has any chance of avoiding the banishment.

I don’t know what happened,” Edelman said. “I’ve taken many, many tests obviously over the course of my career, and nothing like this has ever happened.”

The fact that he has passed “many, many tests” is irrelevant; it’s no different, frankly, than a first-time bank robber saying, “I had previously gone many, many days without robbing a bank.” It takes only one positive test to trigger a four-game suspension, and it doesn’t matter if it happens in Year One or Year 20 of a player’s career.

Maybe Edelman is trying to imply that he was due for a false positive. Regardless, he’ll need something more than a vague suggestion that the sample was erroneously tested as positive in order to avoid the suspension. The PED policy operates under the concept of strict liability. A positive test results in a four-game suspension, no questions asked.

Absent something like proof of a flaw in the collection process or interruption of the chain of custody, the chances of winning on appeal are slim. And nothing from Edelman’s statement suggests that he has a defense that will hold water.