BOSTON (CBS) — Outside of Tom Brady, there’s been no player more important to the Patriots offense than Julian Edelman this season. On Sunday, the team won’t need to learn what like is life without him.
NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported early Sunday morning that Edelman was optimistic to play on Sunday in Cincinnati against the Bengals, but the team won’t make a determination on his playing status until seeing him go through a pregame workout.
Edelman went through that workout without issue, before posting a pump-up video to his social media pages.
— Julian Edelman (@Edelman11) December 15, 2019
When the Patriots announced their inactive list 90 minutes prior to kickoff, Edelman was not on it, meaning he’ll be suited up and playing once the game kicks off shortly after 1 p.m.
Edelman was absent from practice on Wednesday but returned as a limited participant on Thursday and Friday. He was listed as questionable for the game.
ESPN’s Mike Reiss reported that Edelman arrived at the stadium as early as possible on Sunday morning:
Julian Edelman, who is questionable with shoulder and knee injuries, arrives on the earliest possible bus at Paul Brown Stadium. The other players on the bus were Matthew Slater, Lawrence Guy and Danny Shelton. pic.twitter.com/ngPMx7jdoD
— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) December 15, 2019
Edelman has been dealing with shoulder and knee injuries and has clearly been affected by the ailments. However, without many threats elsewhere in the receiving corps, Edelman’s been playing through the pain — and succeeding. Over the past three weeks, he’s caught 22 passes for 294 yards and two touchdowns.
On the year, Edelman has 90 catches for 1,010 yards and six touchdowns. The next best wide receiver has been Phillip Dorsett, who has 28 catches for 347 yards and five touchdowns. Running back James White ranks second on the team in receiving yards with 539.
On Sunday, the Patriots face the 1-12 Bengals, who rank 31st in total defense, 32nd in rushing defense, and 19th in passing defense.
For the Patriots, center Ted Karras will return after missing one game due to a knee injury of his own. Cornerback Jason McCourty is once again inactive, after he returned to game action a week ago. The complete list of inactive players for both teams is below.
T Korey Cunningham
TE Ryan Izzo
DL Byron Cowart
RB Damien Harris
CB Jason McCourty
G Jermaine Eluemunor
QB Cody Kessler
QB Jacob Dolegala
WR Damion Willis
WR A.J. Green
CB Torry McTyer
G John Jerry
T Isaiah Prince
DT Anthony Zettel