FOXBORO, Mass. — The loss of Julian Edelman could be felt in the New England Patriots’ locker room Monday as the team’s receiving corps reacted to Edelman’s season-ending ACL tear.
“I’m going to miss him every day, man,” said Danny Amendola, Edelman’s teammate since 2013. “Just in the locker room. He’ll be around. He’s a leader on this team. We’re going to miss him on the field. He’s one of the strongest people I know, so he’ll be good — he’ll be better for it. He’ll be strong.”
Amendola said he “of course” has spoken to Edelman since the unfortunate MRI result came back Saturday morning. The wide receiver suffered the injury on the opening drive of Friday night’s preseason game against the Detroit Lions.
“He’s good,” Amendola said. “Obviously, he’s bummed, but he’s a strong kid.”
Chris Hogan, who joined the Patriots last season, said he looked to Edelman for guidance after coming over from the Buffalo Bills.
“He’s a great player,” Hogan said. “He was the leader of that room — of our room. I mean, we have a bunch of leaders in that room, but he was a guy that people looked to, and he helped me a lot. Coming in here last year as a first-year player here on this team and this offense, he was a guy that I looked to for answers and will continue to do that.”
Edelman easily was the Patriots’ most productive receiver last season, leading the team in receptions with 98 and receiving yards with 1,106. His 158 targets also led the team by a wide margin, with James White ranking second on that list with 86.
“We’re definitely going to miss him for now,” said Brandin Cooks, who is entering his first season with the Patriots. “But at the same time, we know we have to get ready, keep the wheels turning and do what we have to do to make up for that.”
Cooks, Amendola and Hogan all will be asked to carry heavier workloads in Edelman’s absence, as will second-year pro Malcolm Mitchell. Edelman’s injury also could make it possible for a fringe skill player like Austin Carr, D.J. Foster or Devin Lucien to earn a spot on the 53-man roster.
“Everybody’s got a job to do,” Amendola said. “We’ve been saying that for years. So that’s what we’re going to focus on. Take it one day at a time, one week at a time, and go from there.”
None of the wideouts were willing to comment on exactly how their roles might change, though.
“Whatever the coaches ask me to do, I’m going to do,” said Amendola, who caught just 23 passes last season but was a reliable third-down option for quarterback Tom Brady. “It’s always been the same for me. Whatever they want me to do, I’m going to do.”
Hogan, who is expected to slide into the No. 2 receiver spot behind Cooks with Edelman out, concurred.
“(It’s a) next-man-up mentality,” he said. “Whatever Coach asks you to do, you’re going to go out there and do your job and do it to the best of your ability.”
Thumbnail photo via Kevin Jairaj/USA TODAY Sports Images