But the Patriots wide receiver, whose four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy officially ended Monday, brings back another element his teammates may or may not have missed.
“Comically?” Patriots tight end Dwayne Allen replied Tuesday at Gillette Stadium when asked about the “boost” Edelman can provide.
“One of the things that you guys don’t get to experience as much is that comic relief,” Allen went on. “Because things do get tense in this building, if you guys aren’t aware, and Julian is there to ease the tension.”
The 32-year-old veteran indeed is a colorful presence in New England’s locker room, where he arrived bright and early Monday morning to prepare for his first non-preseason game since Super Bowl LI.
In fact, Edelman often is seen before he’s heard; although Allen admits he missed the wideout’s triumphant return to the team.
“I wasn’t here when the red carpet was rolled out,” Allen joked. “Or the trumpets, or the flowers thrown. But I heard it was quite the spectacle.”
For wide receiver Phillip Dorsett, having Edelman back in the fold was beneficial on another front.
“It was good to see him as soon as I walked in,” Dorsett said Tuesday. “I figured he was there already. I knew he was going to come here really early and get some extra work in.
“I saw his (locker) was open with all his tennis balls and stuff, and I stole two tennis balls.”
Edelman’s comedic presence and extra equipment notwithstanding, his return can’t come soon enough for the 2-2 Patriots, who face a quick turnaround this week in a Thursday night matchup with the Indianapolis Colts.
New England looked flat at times in those road losses to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Detroit Lions, but Edelman should ensure that’s not the case going forward.
“He brings the juice in our room and on the field he’s a dog,” Dorsett said. “Him bringing that energy is going to help us a lot.”
“I think he has a presence in just how he is — very competitive,” Patriots safety Devin McCourty added. “I think it always sticks out.”
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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