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Patriots not expected to activate Julian Edelman from injured reserve before season’s end

Related: Patriots vs. Bills Saturday injury report: Jordan Thomas out, 20 others questionable for New England

NFL: OCT 25 49ers at Patriots Photo by Fred Kfoury III/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The New England Patriots still have two more games to play in a tumultuous 2020 season, but it appears as if one of their most experienced player will not participate in them. According to a report by NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport, wide receiver Julian Edelman will not be activated off injured reserve today and “it’s unlikely that he plays next week” as well.

While Edelman did return to practice on December 16 to kick open his 21-day activation window, he was not elevated to the 53-man roster for the game against the Miami Dolphins in Week 15. When the team was back on the practice fields one week later, the MVP of Super Bowl 53 was suspiciously absent.

The writing that he would not return this week, or in fact this season, was already on the wall at that point.

Edelman was originally placed on injured reserve in late October after a minor procedure on his knee — not the first time he was bothered by his knee. Not only did he deal with an issue during the late stages of last season and eventually had to undergo surgery during the offseason, he also was listed on every injury report going all the way back to Week 1.

The veteran wide receiver did not miss any games before his knee procedure in October, but his production and comparatively limited playing time did raise questions. While Edelman played 265 of a possible 389 offensive snaps through six games (68.1%), fellow wide receivers Damiere Byrd and N’Keal Harry were on the field for 92.5 and 71.2 percent of snaps, respectively.

Despite his reduced opportunities compared to Byrd and Harry, Edelman still played a vital role in New England’s offensive attack earlier this season: by the time he was sent to IR, he was leading the team with 21 receptions on 35 targets for 315 yards.

Edelman is under contract for the 2021 season, but given his age — he will turn 35 next May — and injury history he certainly projects to be a player to watch over the offseason.