FOXBORO, Mass. — It takes some players two years to fully recover from a torn ACL. No so for Julian Edelman, who has not missed a beat in his return to the New England Patriots’ lineup.
Edelman, who spent the entire 2017 season on injured reserve and was suspended for the first four games of this season, has been one of the Patriots’ most productive pass-catchers since making his 2018 debut in Week 5.
In his first five games, the veteran wide receiver has caught 31 passes on 44 targets for 322 yards and two touchdowns, ranking second on the team in catches and touchdowns during that span behind James White and third in receiving yards behind White and Josh Gordon.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and tight end Rob Gronkowski both have experienced torn ACLs during their careers, and neither is surprised by how quickly Edelman has regained his footing.
“Julian’s been such a great player for our team,” Brady said. “I think his mental and physical toughness are just unmatched in a lot of ways. I have so much confidence in him. He really does all the dirty work for us. He’s so scrappy. He goes in there and blocks hard, catches balls over the middle. We put him in a lot of different positions, and he always seems to come through for us.”
Edelman has been targeted 10 times in each of the Patriots’ last two games, totaling 15 catches for 175 yards. He also completed a 37-yard pass to White on a trick play during last Sunday’s 31-17 win over the Green Bay Packers.
“The second Julian got back, we knew he would be just Julian,” Gronkowski said Thursday. “Same old Julian. Ever since he’s been here, ever since I’ve been here, the way he works, his work ethic, you always know he’s going to be ready. And you always know if something does happen to him, he’s always going to bounce back and come back even stronger.”
Edelman should see plenty of targets again this Sunday against a Tennessee Titans secondary that features two former Patriots in cornerbacks Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan.