Someone needs to perform an exorcism on me.
It was barely a week and a half ago that I wrote this short little column to talk about how much I was looking forward to seeing Julian Edelman return to the field for the Patriots. As if right on cue, Edelman is now looking at a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s PED policy. Nothing is set in stone, as he is currently appealing the suspension, but I’m not banking on seeing Edelman during Week 1.
(We’ve all been through this process before…)
I swear, I’m possessed by some kind of sports demon, because weird stuff like this always happens to me. A little over a year ago, after Isaiah Thomas became superhuman and led the Celtics to the Eastern Conference Finals, I rambled endlessly about how incredible the little guy was and how I couldn’t wait to keep watching him for years. Little did I know that I had already watched his last game in a Celtics jersey.
Then a few weeks ago, I wrote about how Hanley Ramirez was on his way to a big year for the Red Sox, then maybe a week later, the Sox designated him for assignment. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but I’m like a living, breathing curse for Boston sports (although the Isaiah Thomas trade was more of a blessing than a curse).
Now there’s this Edelman thing. This is a real bummer, especially because he didn’t play a single down of football in 2017 when they really could’ve used him. As the best receiver for the Patriots and Tom Brady’s favorite target, the offense just always has a glaring hole when he’s not out there. The Pats were able to get by last year, because guys like Danny Amendola and Brandin Cooks stepped up to somewhat fill that void.
Now both of those guys are gone. For four games, New England’s No. 1 receiver is going to be Chris Hogan. That’s okay, I guess. Hogan is a good football player. But he’s nowhere close to Edelman, or even Amendola for that matter. On the plus side, however, this will be a great opportunity for the rookie Braxton Berrios to impress Bill Belichick. At the very least, we’ll get more opportunities to see what kind of game Berrios can bring to the NFL. Can Berrios actually become the next Wes Welker, as has been suggested?
Am I worried that Edelman’s absence for four games will have a drastic impact on the season? Not at all. Even at 41 years old, Brady will find a way to manage with the guys he has. He’s been doing it for years. Actually, I’m more interested in finding out exactly how Edelman allowed himself to violate the PED policy in the first place, when he claims that he’s taken “hundreds of tests” and has never tested positive before. What the heck happened?
Ultimately, it won’t be a big deal. The Patriots will be fine. I just wish I would stop jinxing my favorite athletes.