FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — If Julian Edelman’s past life as a collegiate quarterback has become an old storyline everywhere else, there is at least one person still talking about it. At least according to fellow Patriots wide receiver Brandon LaFell.

“I believe it because he always talks about it,” LaFell jokingly said at Gillette Stadium as the Patriots practiced ahead of Sunday’s regular-season finale against the Buffalo Bills. “He always talks about it.”

LaFell didn’t know much about Edelman before signing as a free agent this past offseason. What he’s learned is the Pats’ offense needs Edelman’s presence to operate the way it did during the middle portion of the schedule.

“Since I’ve been with him and learned from him, he’s one of the hardest-working guys on the practice field,” LaFell said. “When it comes to the game he’s tough, and he makes contested catches week in and week out, always catching and running with the ball. He’s a real good guy. He’s a guy in his own category. He makes so many plays for us on offense and on special teams, it’s ridiculous.”

Edelman’s status remains up in the air for the Bills game, with the No. 1 seed in the AFC already secured by the Patriots. He missed Sunday’s victory against the New York Jets because of a concussion but was present at practice Monday and Tuesday without meeting with the media, a good indication he’ll play against Buffalo.

Without Edelman last week, the offense scuffled. A large part of that had to do with the Jets’ front seven and the group’s ability to get pressure on Tom Brady. But the quarterback didn’t have his safety valve in Edelman, who has 197 catches in the last two seasons, good for second in the NFL behind Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Antonio Brown (225).

Getting Edelman back might not mean the world this week, with the road to the Super Bowl going through Gillette Stadium in the postseason. But getting him back healthy most certainly will mean a lot.

“It helps everybody,” LaFell said of having the full complement of threats for the offense. “Whenever everybody is out there eating, getting balls, making plays, it helps everybody. It opens up the pass game for other guys like Tim Wright. It opens the run game for our running backs. It makes it easy out there for (Brady) when we can get out there and make plays.”

The Bills saw firsthand what a trio of Edelman, LaFell and tight end Rob Gronkowski can do when Brady has time.

Brady threw for the most yards (361) he has all season in the first meeting against Buffalo. LaFell, Edelman and Gronkowski all went over 90 yards receiving, so having Edelman proves a positive, considering Brady had his worst quarterback rating (76.1) of the season against the Jets without one of his favorite targets.

“It makes them have to play us honest,” LaFell said. “You can’t double one guy, and if you are going to double somebody I hope you double Rob, because that leaves me one-on-one with somebody. It makes the defense go out there and play honest, and show us what they have instead of disguising a lot.”