FOXBORO — The New England Patriots will be without a number of their key offensive weapons when training camp starts on Thursday.
Just one day after it was reported that both second-year running back Sony Michel and acquired free agent receiver Demaryius Thomas would start the season on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list, it was reported that Super Bowl MVP Julian Edelman will also miss the start of camp.
The 33-year-old Edelman was seen wearing a brace on his left thumb at his youth camp over the weekend. He is expected to be out about three weeks with the injury, according to ESPN.
The news seemed to prompt the Patriots to work out a group of receivers on Monday, which included former Titans receiver Nick Williams, former Steelers receiver Justin Hunter, former Jaguars receiver Papi White and former Saints receiver Travin Dural, according to ESPN’s Field Yates.
Edelman’s absence, however, could be looked at in a positive light for New England. It will surely make for more practice reps and targets to other receivers, who need to integrate themselves with quarterback Tom Brady and the offense more so than Edelman does. Especially due to that fact that besides Edelman, only receiver Phillip Dorsett caught a pass from Brady last season.
Going into Thursday, the receiver group with include first-round pick and surefire roster lock N’Keal Harry, Maurice Harris, Dontrelle Inman, Braxton Berrios, Jakobi Myers, Ryan Davis, Damoun Patterson, Gunner Olszewski and Dorsett. It is expected Harry and Dorsett will be the two most featured receivers at the start.
In addition to Michel, who sat out offseason workouts after reportedly undergoing a knee scope, and Thomas, fellow Patriots like core special teamer Nate Ebner, defensive end Dietrich Wise, cornerback Ken Webster and tackle Cole Croston were also placed on the PUP list.
Incoming rookie and offensive tackle Yodny Cajuste, who had quadriceps surgery prior to the draft, was placed on the non-football injury list as well.