Tom Brady might not have his favorite receiver back to begin the season.
Julian Edelman is facing a four-game suspension for violating the NFL's performance-enhancing substances policy, NFL Network's Kimberly Jones reported, per a source informed of the situation. NFL Network Insider Ian Rapoport adds Edelman is appealing the suspension.
ESPN first reported the news.
"I've known Julian since his rookie year and he is a phenomenal athlete who takes his training seriously-it's disappointing to hear today's news," trainer Alex Guerrero said in a statement. "Elite athletes sometimes work with multiple coaches and health professionals as part of their training. Here at our facility, we take a natural, holistic, appropriate and, above all, legal approach to training and recovery for all of our clients. And anyone who would suggest otherwise is irresponsible, and just plain wrong."
The 32-year-old Edelman missed the entire 2017 season after suffering a torn ACL during a preseason tilt.
The suspension, if upheld, represents a big blow to the Patriots offense. New England lost Danny Amendola in free agency and traded away Brandin Cooks. Those losses were supposed to be mitigated by the return of Edelman.
Now Brady will have to wait until Week 5 versus the Indianapolis Colts to target his BFF.
Edelman's suspension thrusts even more questions about how Bill Belichick will shape the roster heading into the regular season. Heading into training camp, the Pats had a logjam at wideout with Edelman, Chris Hogan, Cordarrelle Patterson, Malcolm Mitchell, Kenny Britt, Phillip Dorsett, Jordan Matthews, Braxton Berrios and Cody Hollister all vying for snaps. It's likely someone on the roster bubble will keep his job for at least four weeks until Edelman returns.
Brady and Co. usually spend the first month of the season working out the kinks before steamrolling through the rest of the year. Edelman's suspension could set back that process slightly in 2018.