BOSTON (CBS) — Week 5 of the 2018 NFL season has arrived in New England, and that means only one thing.
Here comes Julian Edelman.
The wide receiver is back to work Monday morning after serving his four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s performance-enhancing drug policy. He’ll make his season debut Thursday night when the Patriots host the Indianapolis Colts.
It wouldn’t be a surprise to learn that Edelman was outside of 1 Patriot Place waiting for the office to open on Monday (likely in full uniform). The crafty receiver missed all of last year after he tore his ACL in New England’s third preseason game, and after having to sit out a quarter of the 2018 season, Thursday night will be Edelman’s first meaningful game since New England’s amazing comeback against the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI.
It’s been 604 days since that game, so Edelman is going to be pretty amped up to get back to work these next few days, and even more so to finally haul in a Tom Brady pass come Thursday night.
“I know he was itching to go and he wants to get down there and show everyone he is ready to go,” Brady said of Edelman’s return during his Monday morning call into WEEI’s Kirk & Callahan. “He’s in that James White mode where he is just so dependable and consistent and tough. He hasn’t been out there in awhile.”
Given the 32-year-old is coming off a lost season and a PED suspension, Brady said Edelman has plenty to prove upon his return.
“He’s very much an underdog. He’s seen himself like that for a long time,” said Brady. “He plays with a massive chip on his shoulder and I think that’s his playing style. He’s tough. He’s been everything that you are looking for as a Patriot.”
The Patriots offense had their share of struggles during the first month of the season, but appear to have righted the ship Sunday with a 38-7 trouncing of the Miami Dolphins. New England receivers finally got some separation, allowing Brady to complete 23 of his 35 passes for 274 yards, and everything should get a lot easier with Edelman’s reliable hands and pristine route-running back on the field.
“Hopefully he brings that attitude and his competitiveness; be really unselfish and do all the dirty work, which Jules loves to do,” added Brady. “I think all the guys appreciate that with a player who is not the biggest guy, but he has a big heart and makes the biggest plays at the biggest times. Any time you can add someone like that, it can only help.”
Edelman had a career-high 1,106 receiving yards in the 2016 regular season, hauling in 98 receptions and three touchdowns.