The New England Patriots received a tough blow Thursday, learning that wide receiver Julian Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy.

It currently is unknown which substance Edelman — who missed all of the 2017 season with a torn ACL sustained during the preseason — tested positive for, and he is planning to appeal.

And while such a discovery certainly isn’t a good one, it is one former Patriots linebacker Rob Ninkovich dealt with in his final season. Ninkovich missed the first four games of the 2016 season after testing positive for a PED, and after hearing the Edelman news, Ninkovich weighed in on the situation during WEEI’s “Dale & Keefe.”

“It’s definitely unfortunate. It’s something I had to deal with,” Ninkovich said.

Despite the report, Ninkovich is imploring people to steer away from judging Edelman until all of the news gets out.

“In today’s society we’re lied to a lot … You just never know,” he said. “I feel for Jules.

“It’s a situation that you want to say is preventable but as an athlete … you just never know,” Ninkovich continued. “I would wait until a statement is said or written or hear his side of it before I’m going to jump to any conclusions.”

Ninkovich also added the nature of the sport they play means they need to take in more than just food to stay on the field. Because of that, the ex-linebacker isn’t ruling out the possibility that Edelman simply had no clue what he was ingesting.

“You can’t not take anything,” he said. “You can’t go work out and eat an egg and be like, ‘Oh I got my protein for the day’ … You could go take a vitamin that’s made in a facility that they say exactly what’s in it and it has something else in it.”

If Edelman does, in fact, get suspended for four games, he will be eligible to return for the Pats’ matchup against the Indianapolis Colts on October 4th.

Thumbnail photo via Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports Images