The New England Patriots needed a spark offensively and they might’ve found it.
Julian Edelman returned to practice on Wednesday for the first time since Week 7, where he underwent a knee procedure and was placed on the injured reserve list. The 34-year-old collected 21 receptions for 315 yards in those six games — with a career performance against the Seattle Seahawks with eight receptions for 179 yards.
After 14 weeks of play, Edelman is still the team’s third best receiver in the yards (315) behind Jakobi Meyers (505) and Damiere Byrd (566). His presence has been missed by everyone, but Cam Newton especially. Newton was growing a connection with the veteran and that was quickly taken away.
The Patriots likely won’t make the playoffs, but they can still finish out the final three games with pride. Here’s how three of the Patriots players’ reacted to Edelman’s return, via WEEI.
I think everybody took note of him. I was talking to him just yesterday, I was telling him, ‘I hope you’re out there.’ It gives us a little spark of energy. It’s Julian. He sets the tone. He’s been set the tone for not on the receiver room, but I think the team, for a long time. Having him out there, I think it brought a little spark back to everybody — a little pep in your step. JE11’s out there. That’s what I told him. I said, ‘It’s awesome having you out there.’
It was great to be able to see somebody like him get back on the field. You never want to see a teammate get hurt. So being able to have him back after a number of weeks is exciting. I know he’s worked his tail off to get back on the field better. So I’m excited to see how he progressed.
Jules is a great leader, a lot of energy. So he’s just a great guy to have back. And yeah, I’m glad he’s back.
The Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills and New York Jets are the final three matchups of this unorthodox season.