Fight on, or live to fight another day?
That seems to have been Julian Edelman's choice to make, as he lost the appeal of his four-game suspension handed down by the NFL last week. We still don't know what substance was allegedly taken to get him suspended in the first place, and we may never know that answer.
But that's okay. Let's just let it go this time.
Certainly, Tom Brady's much-publicized and valiant fight for his reputation - not to mention his playing time and salary - from a couple of years ago was something almost everyone could get behind and support. Well, maybe almost everyone. But you get the point.
It seemed so rotten, so unfair given the circumstantial evidence the NFL used to arrive at its four-game penalty that even some non-Patriot fans were surprised. Nevertheless, the process finally reached a point where TB12 said 'enough.'
He took the penalty, fair or unfair, for the common good - whatever that might have been. But everyone was able to move on from it. Julian Edelman took his shot at an appeal, as is a players' right, and lost - claiming the testing process was botched to begin with.
The situations aren't entirely similar, but the adjudication process is. Edelman should now follow Brady's example and bow out of the accusatory spotlight.
It most definitely is in his own best interests.
Pretty simple, really. Edelman will be 32 years old when he returns to the playing field, coming off an ACL injury. A broken foot also caused him to cut short his time just two years ago. But the knee injury doesn't have a great track record of success in recovery, despite medical advances over the past 20 years.
The @ACLRecoveryClub on Twitter reports there have been 202 torn ACL's that have required surgery over the past four years. Since 2013, 34 wide receivers have suffered the injury, with only seven of those players actually improving upon their pre-ACL tear numbers, adjusted for a full season.
That got my attention, and it should probably get yours, too. Hey Julian, have you seen this?
Yes, JE11 and his trainers have undoubtedly done their own research on the subject. Still, when you consider he's on-the-mend + his age (he'll be 32) + the physical nature of the position he plays (as a slot receiver), it should equate to some caution when it comes to thinking 'comeback.'
In other words, discretion is the better part of valor here. He just received a four-week, unpaid vacation from the league. Use the time wisely, continue to prepare for the long haul, and remain on a team training schedule through the upcoming training camp and preseason.
Stay on track, albeit a little slower than originally intended. Maybe as a result, there can still be better days ahead.
Especially since 2013, only two other receivers in the league - Jordy Nelson and Reggie Wayne (since retired) - were over 30 years old when they tore their own ACL's.
Yeah, we seem to get the point that JE11 wants to return and get back onto the field as quickly as possible. But what we don't know, is how well Edelman will do when he gets back.
We also don't know how healthy he might be. Take the time, Jules. It might be a blessing. Live to fight another day.
TB12 will know where to find you, when the right time comes.
John Rooke, an author and award-winning broadcaster, is entering his 26th season as the Patriots' stadium voice. Currently serving in several media capacities - which include hosting "Patriots Playbook" on Patriots.com Radio - Rooke has broadcast college football and basketball locally and nationally for more than 30 years and is a member of the Rhode Island Radio Hall of Fame and RI's Words Unlimited Hall of Fame.