The National Football League has announced that Julian Edelman, a 32-year-old star wide receiver for the New England Patriots, has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming 2018 NFL season.
As part of this suspension, Edelman is also going to end up having to forfeit nearly $1 million in salary while sitting on the sidelines for the first month to kick things off.
The New England Patriots are no stranger to controversy, with Tom Brady most recently having been suspended by the NFL (also for four games) for allegedly obstructing an investigation into whether or not the Patriots had deflated footballs during the AFC championship game in 2014 when they devastated the Indianapolis Colts on their way to another Super Bowl victory over the Seattle Seahawks.
Like most other contentious that between the NFL and the New England Patriots, this round of controversy also has its unique storyline. According to the NFL, as well as the agent and representative of Edelman, the positive test for performance-enhancing drugs is unique in that the NFL cannot identify the substance that Edelman has tested positive for.
While the NFL will say that Edelman has tested positive for something, they have been open and transparent about the fact that their clinicians cannot determine exactly what that substance is. Edelman, for his part, has told his coaches, his teammates, and the league that he never knowingly took performance-enhancing drugs and has absolutely no idea why he would have popped positive for any performance-enhancing substances, especially substances that cannot be identified by the NFL or their laboratory.
Taken in the very last round of the NFL draft (and originally a quarterback from Kent State University), Edelman has gone on to become one of the most trusted and favorite targets of future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady.
Unfortunately, Edelman tore his ACL at the very beginning of the preseason last year, missed the entirety of the regular season and the playoff run that led to their defeat in the Super Bowl at the hands of the Philadelphia Eagles. He has been rehabilitating ever since with an eye to get back on the field for training camp this year.
The Patriots signed Edelman to a two-year, $11 million extension before the 2017 football season. They expect him to be a big part of the offense, and hope that he is back on the field sooner rather than later.
The personal trainer that Julian Edelman works with outside of the New England Patriots organization, Alex Guerrero (business partner of Tom Brady and head of the TV 12 Sports Group) has already put out a statement that nothing he gave Julian Edelman would have resulted in a positive test from the NFL and its stance on performance-enhancing drugs.
Guerrero made sure to stand behind his client, calling Edelman a great athlete as well as one of the hardest workers that he has ever had the privilege of working with. He added that he looks forward to continue to working with Edelman moving forward.
Edelman has already begun the appeal process with the NFL. Last Monday he met with Roger Goodell and other NFL officials, and it is expected that he will learn whether or not his suspension is upheld or overturned within a week or two.
Edelman’s case is pretty solid. Apparently, not only is the NFL having a hard time identifying the substance that he tested positive for but there is also evidence that the test protocol wasn’t followed and may have been tainted. This could give Edelman an instant out, the same way that it did for then-Seattle Seahawk cornerback Richard Sherman, who had his suspension for PEDs overturned for the same reason.