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Initial Thoughts on Edelman's Suspension

Things were starting to get boring in Foxborough.  Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski reported to Mandatory Mini-Camp, and all was right with the world.

That didn’t last long.


Photo Courtesy of complex.com

Late Thursday afternoon reports were released stating Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman is expected to be suspended four games to start the 2018 NFL Season for violation of the League’s Performance Enhancing Drug Policy.  Speculation immediately began to swirl around Edelman’s use of PED’s and the potential role of Edelman’s personal trainer and Tom Brady’s TB12 partner and guru Alex Guerrero.

So what does all of this mean for Edelman and the Patriots?  For Edelman - not much.  For the team – it will likely prove to be beneficial by the end of the season.

While Edelman’s image will receive an initial hit, PED suspensions in the NFL do not hold the stigma associated with similar suspensions in baseball.  The general assumption is everyone in the NFL is using something, and sometimes guys get stupid and get caught.  Boston sports pundits have already begun making excuses such as “he was using it while rehabbing from his injury” and “football is a tough sport, you need to use something to survive”.

Edelman is hardly the first high profile Patriot to be popped for PEDs.  Rodney Harrison was suspended for the first four games in 2007, admitted to his mistakes, and was welcomed back with open arms.  In 2016, Rob Ninkovich also received a four game unpaid vacation and it barely raised an eyebrow.  It will be no different with Edelman.

How does this help the team?  A number of ways.

Four games off to start the season for a 32 year old Edelman coming off ACL reconstructive surgery is hardly the worst thing that could happen.  The hiatus gives him extra time to rest and recover.  It will also help him to be stronger at the end of the season going into the playoffs.

For the team, Edelman’s absence provides the Patriots to take a closer look at some of their younger slot receivers, such as former Texan Riley McCarron, former Eagle Jordan Matthews, or rookie sixth round draft pick Braxton Barrios.  Any of these players, or perhaps a Chris Hogan or other receiver, could potentially be Edelman’s long term replacement in the slot.

As always, the Patriots will take this apparent adversity and turn it into a benefit.  They will not make excuses and will play the schedule with the players on the roster.

  
Follow Bill on Twitter @BTravers_BSoT. 

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