New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman will indeed be grounded the first four games of the 2018 season after the NFL upheld his four-game suspension for violating the NFL policy on performance-enhancing substances.


League spokesman Brian McCarthy confirmed Tuesday that Tom Brady’s go-to receiver will be eligible to return to the team on Oct. 1, following the team’s home game Sept. 30 against the Miami Dolphins.

After missing the 2017 season with a torn ACL, Brady’s longtime favorite chain mover was a full participant in the team’s offseason program, and also in the first couple days of OTAs. Before Edelman’s appeal was heard, Brady posted a video on Instagram of the two working out near the quarterback’s home. He was throwing passes to his trusted receiver.

Despite the suspension, Edelman is still allowed to participate in the team’s training camp, which opens July 26. He’s also eligible to play in the team’s exhibition games.

Edelman, however, has to leave the premises by Sept. 1, and won’t be allowed at the team facility. The suspension will cost him roughly $1 million.

With Danny Amendola in Miami and Edelman suspended, New England will be forced to rely on a blend of new receivers, running backs and, of course, Rob Gronkowski in the passing game.


The Patriots have plenty of bodies at receiver, but it remains to be seen if any will connect with Brady like Edelman and Amendola did.

Veterans include Chris Hogan, Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett and Kenny Britt. The Patriots also added Jordan Matthews, Cordarrelle Patterson and sixth-round pick Braxton Berrios.

They will likely rely heavily on Gronkowski as well as receiving running backs like James White, Rex Burkhead and first-round pick Sony Michel. Hogan could see a bump in production, and Matthews had success playing in the slot in his first three seasons in Philadelphia.

Along with replacing Edelman in the offense, the Patriots will also have to find a new punt returner for the first four weeks. Options include Cyrus Jones, Berrios, McCarron and Patrick Chung.

With Edelman out for four games, the Patriots will be granted a roster exemption, which could pave the way for a young player or an added receiver to make the 53-man roster out of training camp.

All-in-all, this marks a rough two-year stretch for Edelman. He missed all of last season after suffering a torn knee ligament in the team’s second preseason game against Detroit. After making steady progress with the knee this offseason, Edelman will now wait even longer to make his return.

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