It’s been a little over a week-and-a-half since Julian Edelman returned to the Patriots, following a four-game NFL suspension, and he’s still getting readjusted to the daily grind of the regular season.
“I mean, meetings can get on you a little bit, here and there, but you realize you need it and it’s good to be back,” the wide receiver admitted to reporters Thursday.
While he was forced to be away from the club during the month of September, Edelman worked out regularly, often with former teammate and retired defensive end Rob Ninkovich. Nothing, however, can replicate the dynamic of practicing with a full squad of players, but Edelman is feeling good about where he is at this stage.
“It’s getting better each day,” he continued. “Honestly, I’m just worried about getting my assignments down, going out and executing during practice. It is better to have competition, going against the D, against our corners, getting in the flow... All that stuff allows you to build your confidence.
“I like it. I feel like my conditioning’s been pretty good. Always working to get it better. Playing against Ninkovich helped me a lot. That was good. I really felt like we took advantage of the time I had. I’m looking forward to getting another practice in and building my confidence a little more.”
Edelman also acknowledged that, in the 10 days or so that he’s been back at Gillette Stadium, he’s been impressed and building a rapport with new teammate and fellow pass catcher Josh Gordon.
“Dude works hard,” he remarked about Gordon. “Great teammate. I really think he could be a really big piece of us [on offense]. It’s exciting to be around him. He loves football, you can tell. He works hard, knows his stuff. It’s getting more and more fun the more he knows [the offense].”
The 32-year-old wide receiver spoke briefly to reporters following New England’s victory over Indianapolis last Thursday. These, though, were Edelman’s first extensive discussions with the media since his return to full-time work. As you might expect, he wasn’t all that interested in looking back, but forward, to this week’s nationally televised showdown with the 5-0 Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday night.
“Ultimately, it’s all in the past, and I’m thinking about the Chiefs,” added Edelman. “I’m not even thinking about last week. We’re playing an undefeated team that looks unbelievable. My focus is the Kansas City Chiefs. I couldn’t care less about last week. We’ve got a battle [coming up]. If you love football, this is why you play, for games like this.”
The Patriots held a walkthrough practice session today, and it appeared that everyone was in attendance, as has been the case throughout the week. Of note, rookie running back Sony Michel, added to the injury report with a knee issue, did not take part in the stretching portion of today’s practice. He instead rode an exercise bike on the sideline.