It’s becoming harder and harder to envision Julian Edelman playing a full season in 2021 for the New England Patriots — or any team, for that matter.
Edelman has yet to publicly announce whether he will retire or return for what would be his age-35 season. The star receiver played just six games last season due to chronic knee issues and, when he was on the field, looked like a player very much near the end of his career.
The 12-year pro has acted like someone who intends to play in 2021 but, again, has yet to confirm his intentions. Regardless of what Edelman decides to do, recent reports indicate the Patriots probably don’t have the veteran in their plans for next season. It all has been quite difficult to get a read on.
Boston Herald reporter Karen Guregian on Thursday offered some clarity. Guregian, as tied in as anyone covering New England, claimed, rather definitively, that Edelman will try to play next year. But she also cast doubt on the 34-year-old finishing his career in a Patriots uniform.
Here’s an excerpt from her column:
Julian Edelman is going to try and gut out another season with a chronically troubled knee.
The question in the coming months is what the Patriots will ultimately choose to do with him, after adding two potential starters in free agency and perhaps another soon via the draft.
According to a source familiar with Edelman?s situation, it?s doubtful he will be able to play the entire 2021 season. The knee has already hampered him for the better part of two years.
While surgery can provide temporary relief, nothing can solve the underlying problem, the source said. That doesn?t mean Edelman won?t try to suit up, but if you?re the Patriots, how do you keep a soon to be 35-year-old receiver with a bad knee that will eventually sideline him again?
How this story ends is anyone’s guess.
Given New England’s clear effort toward getting younger and more explosive at the receiver position, it’s hard to imagine it would want to use a roster spot on a banged-up, aging wideout. Leadership and veteran experience only go so far.
As for Edelman, that he apparently is committed to returning for one last season should not come as a surprise, considering his toughness and competitiveness.