New England Patriots

FOXBOROUGH, MASSACHUSETTS - AUGUST 17: Julian Edelman #11 of the New England Patriots runs a route during training camp at Gillette Stadium on August 17, 2020 in Foxborough, Massachusetts. (Photo by Steven Senne-Pool/Getty Images)

By Matt Dolloff,

Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman still isn’t ready to return to practice, according to a new report by Jim McBride of the Boston Globe. This also means the Pats can’t yet start the 21-day “clock” that ticks toward a deadline to activate him.

Edelman has been on injured reserve since Week 8, and was first eligible to return to practice in Week 11. But if and when he does return, that would start a 21-day timetable for Bill Belichick to activate him, or else he would revert back to IR. So Edelman may not be ready to practice in his own right, but the team will also want to be careful about starting that clock if their intention is to activate him to the main roster.

Last week illustrated why teams have to be careful. The Patriots activated running back Sony Michel off IR before Sunday’s game against the Texans, but did not have him in the active lineup. Belichick noted that they had to activate Michel before the clock ran out on the 21-day limit. So Michel isn’t necessarily ready to play yet, but the Patriots will now carry him on the 53-man roster until he is. Belichick is doing his best to avoid a similarly tough decision with Edelman.

Whenever Julian Edelman returns to practice, the clock starts ticking for the Patriots to activate him. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

Whenever Julian Edelman returns to practice, the clock starts ticking for the Patriots to activate him. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)

“With Julian, we haven’t started the clock on him yet,” Belichick said. “But, again, it’s just not really specific to any player. It’s just, I would say, generally the way we feel about the situation is when you put a player out there, you want to be pretty confident that he’s healthy and is going to be able to finish his rehab and practice and prepare and be able to play in the game.

“So, if you put him out there too early and then he’s not quite ready yet or he has a little setback that maybe takes a week or ten days to try to get him back to where he was, then your three week window expires and then he’s not ready and you have to make a decision as to whether you want to put him on the roster or not. That is not really the position you want to be in.”

MORE: Belichick provides practice update on Julian Edelman

In Edelman’s absence, Jakobi Meyers has emerged as an every-snap player at wide receiver. Damiere Byrd is coming off his biggest game of the season with six catches for 132 yards and a touchdown against the Texans. Veteran addition Donte Moncrief got into the game and played four total offensive snaps, making one catch for 18 yards as the Patriots’ plans at the position round into focus.

In addition to Edelman, left tackle Isaiah Wynn, defensive tackle Carl Davis, running back Rex Burkhead, and defensive lineman Tashawn Bower were all missing from practice. Burkhead recently confirmed he’s done for the season after suffering a serious knee injury in Houston. On the bright side, rookie tight end Devin Asiasi returned to practice Wednesday, meaning the 21-day clock has begun ticking for him to return to the roster.

Whenever Edelman returns to practice, the clock starts. But that day has yet to come.

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Matt Dolloff is a digital producer for 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? Yell at him on Twitter @mattdolloff or send him a nasty email at