Bill Belichick gave a rare health update during his Wednesday video conference. The New England Patriots’ head coach noted that wide receiver Julian Edelman, who underwent a knee procedure on Oct. 29 and is eligible to return to practice and play this week, is progressing well and has not suffered any set backs.
Edelman was placed on injured reserve two days after his surgery. Once the veteran makes his way to the practice field, he is designated to return off of the reserve list, and New England will have a 21-day period to activate him to the 53-man roster.
“I think we’ll do what we would normally do in that situation, and that’s to work towards that goal but not start it until we’re sure the player is ready to start,” Belichick said.
The 34-year old receiver is not the only Patriot currently on IR working his way back, as offensive tackle Justin Herron (ankle) is also eligible to return this week against the Houston Texans.
“We’ll warm them up inside, see how they feel,” Belichick continued. “Coming through the part of their rehab and just see where they are, where we think they are, where they feel they are relative to beginning/starting the clock on them practicing. Neither player has had a setback. They’ve both progressed in a positive direction. It’s just really a question of whether they’re ready or not.
“Is that today? Is it tomorrow? Is it next week? I’m not sure what the time frame is on that. But I think they’re all moving in the right direction, and decisions really on this — before we start the clock we just want to make sure that they’re confident, and we’re confident, that they’re ready for participation in the next stage in their return to play.”
Question: Any plans to start the clock on Julian Edelman and Justin Herron practicing today, as they are now eligible to do so off injured reserve?— Mike Reiss (@MikeReiss) November 18, 2020
Bill Belichick: “ ... Neither player has had a setback. They’ve both progressed in a positive direction...” pic.twitter.com/5WPeFxVxTR
Belichick’s positive update on Edelman matches the one quarterback Cam Newton provided on WEEI Monday morning.
“I can confirm he’s getting better,” Newton said. “He’s doing well. For him to be everything that he is — and I know he may be listening or he may be having his people listen — he’s good, man. Just to see him in good spirits and knowing that we’re doing our job as a team so when he comes back, it’s evident that he’ll have help at that position.”
Edelman played in just six games this season before the operation. Clearly hobbled, he recorded just 21 catches for 315 yards while adding two carries for 22 yards. Jakobi Meyers has done more than anyone could imagine stepping in for the veteran (27 catches for 346 yards in his last four games), but there’s no question about what a now healthy Edelman could bring to this team for the stretch run.
“We just need him to be healthy,” Newton added on WEEI. “We need him to have that same speed that he’s always had, but now being a little more healthy, he’s now able to cut it loose without necessarily thinking. I think that’s all he wanted, and that’s all we wanted as a team.”
As for Herron, the first-year tackle started two games earlier this season as the Patriots offensive line battled injuries. With the unit now healthy, he projects to be the fourth tackle option behind starters Isaiah Wynn and Michael Onwenu and top backup Jermaine Eluemunor.