BOSTON (CBS) — New England receiver Julian Edelman is one of seven Patriots who will begin training camp on the PUP list, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be there for very long.

The Boston Herald’s Jeff Howe joined 98.5 The Sports Hub’s Toucher & Rich on Tuesday, and said Edelman (recovering from a Jones fracture in his left foot) could be back on the field as early as this week.

“Edelman will be ready very, very soon. That’s what I was told early in camp over and over again and throughout the offseason. If it’s not Thursday for that first practice or Saturday for the first padded practice, it will happen sooner rather than later,” said Howe. “You wouldn’t have seen him running around Fenway Park last week if that foot wasn’t ready to go.”

Howe said Edelman starting on the PUP list is procedural move for the very conservative Patriots.

“There is only one time you can put them on the PUP list; if you practice once you’re not eligible to be put on the list,” he explained. “It’s a procedural measure. Not all PUP list entries are created equal.”

That doesn’t mean we’ll see a lot of Edelman in the preseason, as the Patriots juggle the importance of gaining experience with backup Jimmy Garoppolo and protecting players such as Edelman, Danny Amendola and Rob Gronkowski from unnecessary contact during meaningless games. Howe points to New England’s joint practices with the Saints and Bears as avenues to getting their timing down with Garoppolo, rather than preseason games.

“They don’t want those guys on the field, especially Gronkowski. I know they’ve discussed not playing Gronk for a preseason game; I don’t know if that decision has been made yet. What they have working for them is the two sets of joint practices against the Saints and the Bears. They can go hard those two days knowing the risk of injury is greatly reduced,” he said. “If they can get three, maybe four really good workouts in with those two teams over that two-week stretch, that gets a lot of the timing elements they want done.”

Howe also touched on what Tom Brady can’t do during his four-game suspension, like practice or even talk with the team, and ways around those restrictions — not that the Patriots would want to break any rules.

“Let’s be serious, I wouldn’t be surprised if they found a handful of ways to work around that; at least making sure he can see what he’s looking at,” said Howe. “I don’t think the league really wants to enforce any of those rules. You can roll your eyes and say, did you pay attention to this DeflateGate thing? They treated Brady a little differently than anyone ever in this bizarre rules enforcement.

“I’d be very surprised if they had narcs or [Roger] Goodell’s secret service team monitoring Brady’s every move or his computers,” he said. “I think there are going to be situations where Brady can watch the game on TV and have a pretty good idea of what they’re trying to do… I don’t know for a fact, but I’m assuming there is a wink, wink agreement between coaches and personnel to make sure Brady is as much in the loop as he possibly can.”


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