FOXBORO, Mass. — New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman was laughing through the pain Tuesday. And no, don’t worry, we aren’t talking about knee pain, just mental anguish.

Edelman admitted it’s been a hard week as he prepares for a four-game suspension that begins Saturday Sept. 1. He won’t be allowed back into the Patriots’ facility until Oct. 1, when he’ll have just three days to prepare for New England’s Thursday night matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.

“It is what it is,” Edelman said. “Real football starts soon. It’s definitely been a reality check, but I’m not going to sit here and worry about things I can’t control. Ultimately, I put myself in this situation, so it’s more of let’s go and get myself ready for when I can play, take the extra time to get my knee feeling great, getting my other ankles feeling great, this, that the other thing, because NFL football season is a grind. That’s what I’m looking forward to.”

The longtime Patriot said he’s made plans for the first four weeks of the 2018 season. He wouldn’t reveal if he’ll stay in the Foxboro area to work out, but he does plan to watch Patriots games.

“I mean, I’m still part of the team,” Edelman said. “I’m excited for the guys who will get opportunities, and I’m excited for this 2018 season. A lot of guys have worked hard. A lot of guys have done some good things, and they’ve seen improvement. It’s been a competitive group in our room and in every room, all the rooms. The rookies, the guys that are from other teams. This is the beginning of the start of the 2018 mold.

“So, I’ll definitely be watching, and I’ll have my Patriots hat on and probably a soda and some popcorn.”

Some of the training techniques Edelman will use when he’s barred from Gillette Stadium might have slipped out when he was asked about his recovery from a torn ACL¬†suffered last summer. Or maybe they didn’t.

“There’s definitely been some good stuff, and there’s definitely been a lot of stuff that I’ve taken notes on that I’ll be working on with (former Patriots defensive end Rob) Ninkovich chasing me around with pads on,” Edelman said. “So, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s a joke. Or is it?”

Then Edelman winked a few times.

The versatile receiver has put more emphasis on his final two practices with the team. He wouldn’t reveal if he’s playing in Thursday’s fourth and final preseason game, saying he’ll do what coaches ask of him.

“I definitely put a lot more value into these practices and every opportunity I’ve had this week to go out and do extra,” Edelman said. “Yeah, I won’t be there for the first four. I don’t want to go into this week saying, ‘I wish I would have done this or I wish I had done that.'”

Edelman also revealed he’s talked to his quarterback, Tom Brady, about how he handled his four-game suspension in 2016.

“He’s been very helpful,” Edelman said smiling. “And once again those conversations will be left (private).”

Thumbnail photo via Jeremy Brevard/USA TODAY Sports Images