FOXBORO, Mass. — Julian Edelman’s four-game suspension could wind up being a blessing for the New England Patriots wide receiver.
Speaking Friday after the Patriots’ eighth training camp practice in nine days, Edelman was critical of his own camp performance, saying he still is struggling from a conditioning standpoint after missing all of last season with a torn ACL.
“It’s been a grind, honestly, just trying to get your legs,” Edelman said. “You’re compounding day after day after day after day. When you’re working in the offseason, you may put three (days) together. I think we’re on eight today. So you’re always trying to go out and get better, and I have to get a lot better.
“I feel like I’ve got to get my legs under me a lot more. I don’t have football legs, and it’s evident out there. You get tired, you create bad habits, you don’t run your routes right and you get yelled at in meetings for it. And I’m expecting to do that, because I’ve got to pick it up. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it (Friday), and that’s because I’m not in the best shape right now.”
These struggles haven’t been particularly noticeable to practice observers, but it makes sense that a player who’s less than a year removed from a major knee injury wouldn’t be back to full game speed quite yet. Cornerback Cyrus Jones, for instance, tore his ACL in New England’s 2017 preseason finale — one week after Edelman suffered his injury — and has yet to return to practice.
The suspension Edelman received for failing a performance-enhancing drug test will afford him an additional month of recovery time. The 32-year-old is allowed to participate in training camp and play in the preseason but cannot make his regular-season debut until Week 5.
“You just keep on going out, and you grind,” Edelman said. “When you’re tired, when you don’t feel well, you’ve got to be able to perform when things aren’t going great. And that’s what this does. That’s what eight days in a row does, and that’s what going out at training camp (does). There’s no light at the end of the tunnel right now. You’ve got to go out and embrace it and take advantage of each day.”
Thumbnail photo via Stew Milne/USA TODAY Sports Images