With the offseason in full swing, New England Patriots players are scattered all over the United States (and, in the case of fullback Jakob Johnson, beyond). According to a report by ESPN Boston’s Mike Reiss, however, the team had a group of players in town last week currently rehabbing from injury.
The group included cornerback Stephon Gilmore and wide receiver Julian Edelman, among others, and was at Gillette Stadium for offseason medical check-ups. Those check-ups are routine, but they show how the offseason is not a time of inactivity for players and team personnel alike.
As for the two players mentioned in the report, they are both coming off challenging seasons: Gilmore and Edelman did not just end their 2020 campaigns on injured reserve, they also both spent time on the league’s newly created Reserve/Covid-19 list.
Gilmore, who entered the season as the NFL’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year, appeared in just 11 games. Even though he did not miss any playing time after testing positive for the Coronavirus pandemic, he had to sit out three contests after hurting his knee in practice in early November. While he returned later that month, he saw his season come to an end when he partially tore his quad in Week 15 against the Miami Dolphins.
Edelman, meanwhile, was originally placed on injured reserve in late November after undergoing a medical procedure on his knee to address an ailment that had bothered him going all the way back to Week 2. While he did eventually return to practice in mid-December, the Patriots opted against activating him to their 53-man roster.
While there have not been any updates from Gilmore’s recovery after his season-ending quad injury, Edelman spoke about his rehab during an appearance on the Pardon My Take podcast in January.
“I’m getting there,” the 34-year-old said. “It was a rough year when it came to just my physicality and how I felt. It’s tough, but this is the time where you sit, and you self-reflect, and you self-evaluate, and you self-scout yourself through all last year. You’re really go in and try to develop a formula, and try to develop a game plan for how you’re going to attack the offseason. That’s the process I’m in right now.”
Both Edelman and Gilmore have been cornerstones of the Patriots over the last few seasons, but cannot be considered locks to return in 2021 due to their age — both are on the wrong side of 30 — in combination with their contractual statuses.