New England Patriots fans have been clinging to sources of optimism ever since the team’s shocking loss to the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

The reported returns of Josh McDaniels and Bill Belichick certainly will help everyone calm down. But there’s another reason Patriots fans should be excited for next season: The return of Julian Edelman.

The Patriots receiver wasn’t on the field for Sunday’s disappointment, as he continues to recover from the torn ACL he suffered prior to the season. He’s also been silent amid all the controversy surrounding Belichick, McDaniels and the benching of Maloclm Butler.

But Edelman broke his silence Wednesday, praising his team for their effort and vowing the Patriots will “be back.”

Las Vegas seemingly agrees with Edelman on this one.

Sure, Tom Brady and the Patriots’ offense put up ridiculous numbers in the Super Bowl, despite not having the services of Edelman.

But the 31-year-old spark plug adds another dimension to the offense, and gives the team a toughness and an edge that was lacking in crucial moments. Now, the Patriots and their fans just have to hope Rob Gronkowski is around to elevate the offense to its full potential.

Thumbnail photo via Bob Donnan/USA TODAY Sports Images