New England Patriots

By Matt Dolloff, 985TheSportsHub.com

Julian Edelman has decided not to take the National Football League to federal court after an arbitrator upheld the New England Patriots wide receiver’s four-game suspension, according to the NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero.

The veteran receiver’s return from a torn ACL, which kept him out for the entire 2017 season, will have to wait an extra four weeks. He’ll be able to practice and play with the Patriots throughout training camp and the preseason, but will be absent from Foxboro for the first four games of the regular season against Houston, Jacksonville, Detroit, and Miami.

Edelman previously appealed his suspension on the grounds that league testers mishandled the result of his initial test, which revealed a positive result for a previously unrecognized substance. Shortly after news of his impending suspension came out, Edelman released a statement saying, in part, “I don’t know what happened.”

May 22, 2018, Foxborough, MA, USA: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman catches a pass during organized team activities at Gillette practice fields. (Photo Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

May 22, 2018, Foxborough, MA, USA: New England Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman catches a pass during organized team activities at the Gillette Stadium practice fields. (Photo Credit: Stew Milne-USA TODAY Sports)

With Edelman out, Chris Hogan likely steps up as Tom Brady’s No. 1 option at wide receiver for the first four games of the 2018 regular season. The Patriots enter training camp with a deep, wide-open battle for the rest of the open roster spots at the position. That group includes Malcolm Mitchell, Phillip Dorsett, Kenny Britt, Jordan Matthews, Riley McCarron, Cody Hollister, rookie Braxton Berrios, special teams captain Matthew Slater, and likely kick returner Cordarrelle Patterson.

Edelman’s comeback from a PED suspension is borderline unprecedented for a player of his type. But regardless of how he looks next season, once he’s back on the field for the Patriots, he’ll continue to be perhaps Brady’s most trusted target.

Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 985TheSportsHub.com. Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Have a news tip, question, or comment for Matt? Follow him on Twitter @mattdolloff or email him at matthew.dolloff@bbgi.com.