Check out our favorite photos from Patriots practice at Gillette Stadium, which included a visit from the Boston Bruins, on Aug. 29, 2017.
Everyone's been talking about Julian Edelman since last Friday. Today, it was his turn.
For the first time since injuring his right knee against Detroit, the wide receiver publically acknowledged his season-ending condition. The 31-year-old shared the following message via his Twitter account Tuesday morning:
Later, more of his teammates expressed their sympathy for Edelman and confidence that he'll fulfill his vow to "come back stronger."
"If anybody can do it, he can," maintained running back James White. "That guy works extremely hard. He's the first guy in here… six in the morning… leaves last. As soon as you step in here, you see how hard he works, and the results show."
"It's unbelievable, it really is," backup QB Jimmy Garoppolo said of Edelman's work ethic. "Every day – you've got to give him credit – he comes in early, stays late, and it's impressive."
"Julian works very, very hard," echoed cornerback Malcolm Butler. "I'm sorry he had to go down, but the game is a 99-percent risk, and we're all at that risk. Just got to keep your head up, keep working hard to get back."
"Yeah, that's an unfortunate situation. I wish him the best of luck and a fast recovery," remarked running back D.J. Foster. "I know he's a tough guy, so, I'll just try to give him support and be a good teammate to him."
4th and goals
New England will host the New York Giants in Thursday's fourth preseason game for both clubs. The 7:30 p.m. kickoff could represent the last chance for many players currently on the 90-man roster to prove they deserve a spot on the regular season 53-man squad.
"You can't take for granted the opportunity to play in an NFL game. It's such a blessing to compete with these teammates and be part of this organization," declared Foster, who made a positive impressive in this game as a 2016 undrafted rookie. That effort contributed to his eventually making the team and helping New England win a fifth Super Bowl crown last season.
This season, he once again finds himself having to audition for a role.
"I'm trying to keep the same mindset. I'm fighting for a job, just like a lot of guys. So, just give everything I've got and try to capitalize on my opportunities. Just trying to do everything I can as a football player. Wherever the coaches call on me, whether that's as a receiver, running back, special teams, just go out there and do my job the best I can."
Other players might be more secure in their roster status, like Garoppolo, but he insists he's looking forward to Thursday's game for other reasons.
"Same thing as all the other ones: try to improve," he explained. "There are little things we go through each week that you try to fix up and get ready for the regular season... It's our last opportunity before it really counts.
"I don't think they're that different. Obviously, the first one is a little different because you're just getting into the swing of things, first game back and all. But you try to approach them all the same way."
Even established veterans like Butler recognize the significance of this last preseason tilt, when regular starters barely play, if at all.
"Every game is a game. Everybody's trying to go out there and compete hard and prove what they've got. You want to make a name for yourself, make plays… just got to work hard and stay focused," he suggested.
However, the most important outcome of this game is the same as all the rest.
"A win," Butler emphasized. "That'll give us momentum and confidence going into our next game, but we're just focused on the Giants right now."
Attendance at Tuesday's full-pads practice was fairly consistent with Monday's, with the notable addition of wide receiver Malcolm Mitchell (right knee). He suited up and took part after not having done so a day earlier.
The list of non-participants remained otherwise the same: Edelman, safety Nate Ebner (out since the Lions game for unknown reasons), linebacker Shea McClellin (unknown), rookie OLB Harvey Langi (unknown), rookie defensive end Derek Rivers (left knee), and rookie offensive lineman Tony Garcia (unknown).
Meanwhile, rookie offensive lineman Andrew Jelks (knee) and rookie defensive end Keionta Davis (neck) continue to appear during practice in shorts and t-shirts to conduct rehabilitation exercises for their respective ailments. Joining them on the upper (training camp) fields for rehab work was rookie defensive end Deatrich Wise, who has been dealing with a concussion since the preseason opener against Jacksonville.
New England has acquired veteran linebacker Marquis Flowers in a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals. Flowers wore blue (defensive) jersey number 59 at Tuesday's practice. To make room for him, the Patriots appear to have parted ways with rookie Christian Kuntz, who was not on the field Tuesday after only having arrived on Monday.
The Patriots also welcomed a few high-profile guests to watch Tuesday's practice. Eight members of the Boston Bruins had front-row seats for today's session, among them goaltender Tuukka Task and defensemen Torey Krug and Kevan Miller.