Julian Edelman has been sidelined since early in camp with an ankle issue. (Darren McCollester/Getty Images)
FOXBORO — It’s always a good sign when a Patriots player coming off an injury speaks to the media. It’s usually a sign that the player is ready to return to practice.
And with practice, comes the expectation of game action.
Such might be the case for receiver Julian Edelman, who suffered an ankle injury in the first week of training camp and has been rehabbing it ever since. Certainly, the Patriots aren’t going to take any unnecessary risks. But listening to Edelman speak before practice Tuesday, one gets the sense he would like a few snaps of live game action as the team conducts its regular season “dress rehearsal” Friday night in Charlotte against the Panthers.
“Ask Bill. We’re taking it day-by-day,” is all Edelman would offer in the locker room, referring all inquires to Bill Belichick. “I think I’m ten seconds better than [I was] in the last ten seconds so we’re good.
“Anytime you’re not able to go out there and play, yeah, it’s difficult. But it’s part of the game and I’m just working hard, doing everything I can each and every day to improve myself each and every day.”
Any way to gauge his game readiness based on practice and training room work?
“That’s one of those things where I don’t even have an answer for that. I don’t know. So, we’ll see,” he said.
If he is cleared to play Friday, he certainly will be excited for the chance to getting on the field for the first time since catching the game-winning touchdown from Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLIX.
“When that comes, it’s going to be awesome,” Edelman said. “That’s what you play the game for. You put a lot of hard work in in the offseason, try to get yourself better and then something like this happens, you haven’t been able to practice as much as you wanted to. You have to learn from it and get better.”
Someone he’s going to be learning from is new teammate Reggie Wayne, on the field with Edelman Tuesday before Edelman departed for the lower training field to get in some individual work.
“He’s one of the best,” Edelman said. “Reggie Wayne, statistically, shows it. Just from being around him the couple of day I have, he’s a true professional. You look at him and you’re like, ‘that’s a pro.’ It’s going to be good to have him around and learn from him. He’s played in a lot of big-time football games and made a lot of big-time plays. It’s good to have him and it’ll be good to learn and see what his perspective of the game is, as a fellow receiver.”
Back in the day, like the 2011 season, Edelman was also an emergency slot corner, a la Troy Brown. But he never got the assignment of covering Wayne.
“I don’t think so. I wasn’t going for the ones,” Edelman said.
Edelman was asked about another cornerback who will be playing the position full-time. Edelman says he’s liked what he’s seen from Malcolm Butler, who he thinks has done a good job of putting last year’s heroics in the past.
“Last year is last year. I can tell you right now, Malcolm’s playing tough and he’s getting better each and every day and he works his tail off,” Edelman said.
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